Thank You

Gratitude and big thank yous to all who showed up for the “garden to bed” day on Saturday!  Our deep regards to John, Connie, Doug, Kate, Ray, Misha and Conrad for their intrepid gardening talents in the pouring rain and cold!  Also thanks to Becki, who brought company and  a wonderful waldorf salad for our post-rain drenched lunch of stew and homemade bread (yum!). And also to Tracey, who brought baby Sutter, just for their company and love!  (Too rainy for a baby in a pouch!)     Misha even went back out with us after lunch and worked for 2 more hours!  She’s a gardening machine.  Conrad truly pulled a GIANT pile of weeds! Pretty tough dude for 5 J

Dario and I will spread the mulch, and then let her rest for the winter.  I’ll let you all know when we plan to turn the earth next spring, and anyone interested is welcome to join us once again.

Please let us know if you have suggestions; we would love to improve our little farm.

Next spring and summer:   There will be BEES!  We went to our first class.  Wow.  “How do we bring the bees home?” I asked.    “in the back of your car,” says the teacher with all confidence!  BZZ BZZ BZZ

All our best to you,



Hello from the “Farm in the Fog!”

It is that time of year; the garden has gone to nap in a haze of drizzle and fog.  Except for the very last few very hardy tomatoes I picked a couple of days ago (why do we still have tomatoes?) and some parsley, the garden is sagging into the earth, brown and droopy.  Some of you expressed an interest in helping when we tuck her in, so if you have time come join us Saturday, November 7 for a few hours.  We’ll start around 9am and quit by 3:30 pm.  Why are we finishing at3:30??  Because Dario and I are going to our first BEE CLASS and hive purchasing after the cleanup. Wahoo!  I’m so excited – next year the garden and orchard will have their own Langstroth hive of honey bees!  This could be quite an adventure for our little farm…and oh, the honey we’ll have to share!  So come on over and ponder with us where a hive might best serve us and our neighbors.

I’ll have a pot of something steamy and soupy to share.  If you’d like to bring an accompaniment, we will share a meal at noon.

Happy Fall to All,

Suzannamaria & Dario

Garden, Harvest


Finally got back to the gym after another “doctor” induced week off;  I’m telling you these doc’s are making it difficult for me to stay in shape.  This time I had to have a couple of basal cell spots removed from my arm which means I’m not only getting a bill, the doc now has his pound of flesh from me too…  I know, I’m sorry but it’s all good.  My tests came back from the “pound of flesh” and it appears they got it all.  It’s just that it left me with two nasty looking stitched wounds that make it look like my arm was sewed back on Frankenstein like.  Not something you can get right back into the pool with much less exercise.

But I really needed to get back into the program; so I explained to my trainer that I’ve been off for yet, another week and that I really needed to do exercises that avoid pain and/or tearing my stitches loose.  To which Kay said “Wow, no wonder you missed last week, that’s nasty looking”.  She paused for a moment and then smirked “Good thing it’s Halloween”.  So we proceeded to do a number of torchercises that focused on my back; nothing to really complain about until we got to the last one; the Superman!  Laying on my belly on the floor, she had me arch my back, extend my feet and arms out and up, “hold it” she commanded – So there I was, looking like a lowly, stitched up “Superman” trying to fly, on the floor.  I was beginning to feel a bit conspicuous as she had me repeat this goofy little exercise over and over again.  “Superman?” I said as Kay giggled… “well then we need the theme song don’t we?”… she giggled some more and then commanded “again!”.  So this time I arched my back, stuck my feet up, and flung my hands forward as I sang loudly – the theme from Superman. “Na na naaaa, na na na na naaaaaa!…”  Now people had something to really look at.  One lady started laughing so hard she had to stop her workout and walk away from her trainer, leaving him standing there with his hands on his hips, staring at me.  Kay laughed at first but started looking a bit uncomfortable when I wouldn’t stop…  “again!” she blurted… So, I did it again – “Na na Naaaaaaa, na na na na Naaaaa!”, and with that Kay crossed her arms and said “Ok, I think we’re done here… we’ll see you next week”.

Everyone slowly went back to what they were doing as I got up from the floor with a smile on my face.  I was looking forward to spending some quiet time in the sauna before showering and heading off to work.  As I laid my head back to take in the heat, the door swung open and sweaty young man in shorts, shoes and a tatt that looked like a shirt, clunked into the room with exercise bands and started working out… right there in the sauna.  Of course, he had ear buds with music blaring; so he loudly grunted and groaned each time he did an arm curl.  He just kept exercising, grunting, drinking water and sweating; not more than 3 feet between him and my astonished face.  He was so self-absorbed that he didn’t look to see the stink-eye I was giving him.  I started wondering what the hell it was about this sauna? …or have they all evolved to this?  Used to be you could sit and talk quietly about this or that, get up a good sweat and generally relax.  Now it seems as though it’s one more stop on the exercise app; where you can have what should be a “private” phone conversation; or practice yoga to your favorite music; all under the false cover of “ear bud” headphones.  After the 3rd time “sweaty young man” guzzled down his water with a loud “glug, glug, glug” and walked out the door (letting the heat out) to cool down, I began to wonder how I might STOP the insanity…  I began to wonder if there was enough space to get down on my belly…  This may be a job for Superman!  “Na na Naaaaaaaaaa…”.

Thoughts on the Swing


Had to go through another round of cortisone injections recently so I had a week off from working out at the gym. Started off warning my trainer lady (let’s call her Kay) that A. I just had a week off and B. my doc says take it easy for a bit. With that she started me off on a tailor made round of torturecises targeting my legs and glutes. One particular torturecise involved standing on one leg, doing a deep knee bend while bracing myself with the other foot on a little bench behind me. Kay noticed that my left foot was kind of cattywampus; it wouldn’t straighten out on the little bench. She asked me “did you break your ankle at some point?” to which I replied “No, but I did rip out all my tendons in that ankle when I was in college”. After a few more reps she then asked “so how did you rip all the tendons in your ankle?” By the look on Kay’s face I could tell she was expecting some athletic tale involving football, soccer or even tennis. “I was drunk and running in the dark” I said bluntly. The look on her face was priceless just before she started to giggle.

Managed to get 20 minutes in the pool before the water wing ladies took it over. Retreated to the sauna… Everything was great in there until an older gentleman came in, sat on a top bench, crossed his legs and started doing yoga stretches with ear buds on. I managed to ignore him until he started in humming and doing “oms”. There were a few other guys in there as well and they were starting to pass odd looks at this fella too. Finally his exuberance got to the point that I lightly tapped the old guy on the shoulder… he took an ear bud out. “Let’s try to use our inside voice” I whispered. One of the other guys put his head down and started to chuckle to himself. To his credit the old guy apologized all over himself saying he didn’t realize he was being loud. I laughed and said “It’s a sauna, don’t sweat it”… I waited… but none of them apparently got the joke.

After having to take a week off I realized today that I actually kind of missed this place.

Thoughts on the Swing

Young Buck Tatt

This particular morning I got 6 strong laps in the pool before stopping to spit up lung parts and swear. Actually, the last lap didn’t look that strong. When your body gets tired while swimming, it starts to forget to do the basic things that keep you afloat and moving; but one thing it doesn’t forget is breathing. So the crawl stroke quickly becomes more of an aquatic cartwheel filled with splashing, bubbles, desperate gasps for air and… well mostly, I forget to keep kicking. Meanwhile in the next lane, some young buck with a tatt across half his back, did 10 laps in the same amount of time; complete with flip turns; I always hated flip turns.

So then, silly me decided to push off and see if I could keep up with him for a length of the pool. It wasn’t pretty but I managed to keep up with him (never mind the fact he had been swimming since I got there, without a break). But as I reached the edge and I turned to see if I beat him to the wall, I was rewarded with a big splash of water into my gasping mouth as he flip turned and continued on. After a long bout of coughing and choking, I noticed that “they” had returned; I had encounters with “them” the prior week and frankly a motorcycle gang might seem less threatening; it was the water wing ladies. I immediately said “good morning ladies” and started making my way quickly out of the pool. One of them gave me a bit of a smile but it was obvious their attention was fully on the “Young Buck Tatt”.

He just kept plowing back and forth with his head down, doing lap after lap, flip turn after flip turn. Now I’m not one to rubber neck at traffic accidents but I just couldn’t resist sitting down next to the pool to see how this was gonna turn out. They gave him about 3 laps and then unhooked his lane line, setting it free, like a sea serpent. Young Buck Tatt must have noticed the lane line closing in on him because he started moving closer to the wall. Just at that moment a few of the ladies opened a container next to the pool and tossed in 50 or 60 float gizmos, just as 20 more water wing men and women entered the pool. Young Buck Tatt ran into the lane line and immerged suddenly with float gizmos and water wing people completely surrounding him.

There was a long pregnant pause… Young Buck Tatt said something like “I’m sorry, I’m not done yet”. There was another very long pause as Young Buck just stood there with his goggles still on, bright yellow floaties all around, and the lane line slowly wrapping around him like a lazy anaconda. Without saying a word one of the ladies just pointed at the clock and blew a loud shrieking whistle. With that, the lane lines slithered from the pool and the rest of the water wing people started making their way into the water. Young Buck Tatt finally took his goggles off and looked around. He finally came to the realization, he was clearly defeated.

You know, sometimes life is better than a bag of chips.

Thoughts on the Swing

Core Strength

It happened; I finally caved in to my wife and friends who have been harping on my ear for some time now to join a gym and sign my body, if not my soul, over to the guidance of a trainer. My back and shoulder are still not co-operating with my insistence that they act like I’m 20; meaning they used to stop hurting all by themselves after a while. Instead I wake up several times at night and finally in the morning feeling like, well… my wife swears she doesn’t own a bat.

Core strength, they keep telling me. It’s all about training the 100’s of little muscles in places you can’t even see in the mirror to get up off their collective asses and start carrying part of the load; no more free loading on this boat.

Before I could be assigned a trainer I needed to have an “evaluation” so I met with a guy who looks like he’s never met a weight he didn’t like: we’ll call him Mac (as in truck!). He asked me all the typical questions like height, weight, what brand of shoes are those, do you have a favorite exercise, what is your long term goal and what are you willing to do to attain it, what kind of work do you do, what is your daily routine at work and what do you want from me? Now, there was a time, when looking at a man of this size I would answer meekly, in awe of his grandeur… but I’ve been around the block a few times now and I’ve worked in sales long enough to know qualifying questions when I hear them. So I cleared my throat and sat up in my chair and replied… “I used to be 6 foot but all my years of stomping heads into the ground have caused things to settle a bit so, 5’ 11 and some change; It may look like I have a small beach ball on my belly but my years of martial arts training allows me to will it into a rock hard weapon within seconds, but I will admit at 195 pounds I could afford to lose ten; I have no idea what brand, a special at Target, $19.00, because me and my wallet, we have a relationship; No, I don’t like exercise, that’s why I need a trainer; goal? I’ve already told you why I’m here and if you’re reasonable, I’m willing to pay for your staff to torture me; I sell rocks and I spend each day figuring out how to move them without actually lifting them myself; what I really want from you is to stop asking me that question or I won’t even let you have one little sniff of my wallet.”

Once we got all of that out of the way Mac gave me this gizmo and told me to hold it with both hands straight out in front of me. Having no idea what this thing was I began to suspect it was his way of paying me back for being a smart ass, by making me sit in a corner holding what looked like a toddler’s toy. Suddenly it went beep and Mac started writing numbers down with lines and arrows. I guess he was figuring up my BMI (Body Mass Index) but what came to my mind was a saying my father in-law told me years ago… “figures never lie but liars always figure”. I may have to take off all the gloves for this one. After a little while Mac started talking about my body and all its inadequacies in such a way that my head started to bob and my eyes started rolling into the back of my head. Mac clapped his hands… “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bore you” he said suddenly… “maybe we should do some evaluation exercises. Come on, let’s go have some fun”. Crap! As I wiped the bit of drool from my mouth I thought “I should have paid attention”.

First thing we did in the training area was grab one of those big balls. He did a quick demonstration of the exercise he wanted me to do. In a standing position, hold the ball against the wall with both hands and basically do a pushup. No problem I thought; pushups standing up? – let me at it. I got into position and looked slyly over at Mac and did one push up… My smile betrayed my thought “is this all you got?” Mac just smiled and then happily said “let’s move your feet back now” He took his foot and started lightly kicking my feet… “back he said… back more… even more. There we go, now do another one” Suddenly the ball was filled with nasty, evil, gravitational spirits, all hell bent on making me fall onto the floor in a puddle of failure. Untold numbers of those little muscles that have been free loading all the years in my neck and shoulders suddenly woke up in panic screaming “what the F#%#???”. Mac just grinned as I leaned in for the push. “No that’s not an earth quake, it’s you that’s shaking”. Now the ball had more life than that cartoon Tasmanian devil. I touched my chin to the ball and started pushing my way back up… It was a lot like those scenes in Star Trek where the Enterprise is about to shake apart and Scotty is screaming over the intercom, “Capt’n, I think she’s gonna blow”… Sparks and smoke were bursting in my mind as all the little muscles struggle to keep their balance in a ballet of chaos on the bridge. When I made it back up I looked at Mac in dismay as he smiled and said “Ok, let’s do 9 more”.

After running me through about 10 different variations of this torture involving several seemingly innocuous items like rubber bands, small weights, and a rope, Mac suddenly said “OK, let’s go sit down and talk for a minute”. As I followed him to his desk I struggled to maintain my dignity by walking as straight and smooth as I could. Mac took a moment to turn back and grin again as he blurted “But officer, I swear it was only one drink”… I suddenly veered to the right in a stumble as he started chuckling to himself. As we sat down at his desk he looked up at me and asked “OK, what do you want from me?” I was weak but the hold on my wallet was strong. I struggled to find a way to tell Mac that this relationship was just not going to work out. His motivational technique was effective and he nearly broke me but I just couldn’t see it in a long term sort of way. As the Enterprise bridge in my head lay in a smoking ruin, I tried to pull enough of it together to tactfully break the news to him. That’s when he said “Now, this has been fun but unfortunately my slate is full so I’m going to have to set you up with one of our other trainers”. Slowly he turn and pointed to this nice, fit, young lady who looked up and gave me the most amazing smile as she said “Hi Mister Boyd, it’s very nice to meet you”.

I know, I know… she’s probably going to torture me to no end, and make me feel bad for not trying hard enough, and I will most likely end up in that small puddle of failure at her feet… and I do feel a bit guilty so I will be going home each time to confess to my lovely wife… But I’m old, not dead… I ran to my locker and got my wallet.

Thoughts on the Swing

The Great Gopher Dust Up

So last week gave me an opportunity to mow after that nice day of rain… For one, it kept the dust down and two, there was a lot less risk of starting a fire; something I’ve been pretty freaked out about up on our dry, dry hill.  But my primary goal was not mowing the grass so much as mowing the gopher hills flat.  You see all this dry weather has made the ground rock hard and damn near impossible to see which hills are the fresh (active) hills.  I was starting to feel a bit overrun.  It worked; lets just say it’s been a bad week to be a gopher on my hill.  Six of the little varmints have bitten the dust (wait, that’s what they do), I mean, they’re now pushing up daisies instead of sucking them down into the ground.

Gophers are ScreenHunter_11 Aug. 18 12.36a big problem on our hill; so much so that some of the farmers in my neighborhood are resorting to extreme measures.  For instance, one of the farms next door decided to purchase (or God forbid build) a product called the “Gophinator”.  It’s expensive at about $1300 a pop but if you’re like any typical male, you totally appreciate that this thing does much more than “POP”.  Basically you have tanks of propane and oxygen and you pump the mixture into the tunnel system of these pesky little root munchers.  In the name of apparent safety, this “overkill” gizmo has a very long hose and a remote igniter.  Setting this thing off is a site to behold with the entire gopher tunnel infrastructure going off like some wild zigzag underground lighting strike.  Just the concussion would kill any gophers within acres of this gophergeddon event.  The other, so called, benefit of this thing is that the entire tunnel system collapses thereby rendering it useless to any subsequent gopher families looking for a quick fixer upper.

After about a week of hearing loud “booms” on our hill, word finally got around to the neighborhood about what this farmer was up to.  In most cases the neighborhood would buy some popcorn and wander on down to his fence line for some entertainment.  But in this case we all threw our collective arms in the air and said “what the @$%#@”.  It’s dryer than a popcorn fart (I know, sorry) up here and this seems like a good way to start a smoldering root fire under dry brush and grass.  Last I heard some of the neighbors asked the Fire Dept to pay him a visit to explain in slow careful words, the dangers of fire and of course, the very real possibility of blowing one’s self all to hell.

So I use traps;  besides, based on my experience, there are some very big tunnel systems underneath many of my apple trees and the thought of those trees launching skyward in a blaze, strikes fear in my heart; no matter how many gopher carcasses might follow them into the air.  The other thing is, there is no way to confirm how many gophers you whacked and I like keeping score.  Like I said, six of the little dirt spitters are confirmed kills… well, there was the one trap set that was dug up by a coyote and carried off… but that stinking thief of a coyote took my $15 trap so I’m counting it.

Gopher Patrol, Thoughts on the Swing


Hello Dear Co-Op Friends!

11895296_10204731195268428_5411841967398254577_oSincere thanks to those who came out Saturday and helped dig up weeds and put the garden in such lovely order.  John, Connie, Carla, Ray, Talia, Elizabeth, Mark, Teresa, Allan and Christian – what a fabulous crew!  The harvest is plentiful, and all went home with bags of good veggies and some apples.  I have the garage fridge packed full of pears, apples, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant – so if you need some, it’s already picked!  There will be more this weekend, so come pick anytime.   Pears need to be picked – they should be refrigerated for a couple weeks, and then brought out for several days to room temp for ripening.  Apples are ripening – probably wait a couple more weeks for picking the latest crop.  Oh, and we netted the grapes, and they should be ready in a couple weeks too.

Such abundance! Come harvest when you have a few minutes.  There are a lot of herbs, too:  parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, lavender.  And beets and carrots are hiding all over…

11894526_10204729233659389_5053883011295922361_oNext gathering of the crew: “ Put the garden to bed” will happen later this fall.  I’ll send a notice when we pick the date –

Go with garden graces,


Garden, Harvest, Orchard

Hello my fabulous fellow farmers!

This coming Saturday, Aug 15, we are having our last Weed & Feast for the year!  There is so much to harvest, bring your buckets.  It is the very very end of the yellow plums.

I picked a lot of veggies today, and am storing them in the garage fridge for you – had to pick tomatoes and cucumbers – there will be more on Saturday.   I have 5 bags of apples to share.  There are many veggies

And herbs, and some of the apples and pears are ready.   The garden is bountiful for another week or two.  The orchard is better than last year, but the hot weather did not do much for our apples.  But there is enough to share!

We start at 9 am and end by 4 pm.  Yes – pot luck, so bring something yummy to share if you’d like to join us!

Hope to see you Saturday!



Hello all you fellow dreamy farmers!

Hey Co-op Friends…

Come on over to the farm next Saturday if you have time, and help sort through the jungle, and pluck a weed or two (or 100!)  The garden has gone crazy, and needs a little TLC.

We will potluck at about noon – so bring your favorite food to share!

HARVEST:  Ready Now!  PLUMS!!  The trees are loaded with purple and pink and yellows, so come help yourself to buckets full this weekend.  We also have lettuce, kale, garlic, Carrots, beets, parsley, basil, cukes, zucchini, some peppers, dill, and a few ripe tomatoes.  Help yourself to the bounty.