Monterey and Carmel, CA

It seems to me that the areas north and south of San Francisco are ideally located for organic growing – excellent growing conditions and the wealth of San Francisco provides great consumer demand for the more expensive organic produce.   My son lives and works in the San Francisco area and on previous trips we visited the redwood forests and organic growing areas of Marin county to the north of San Francisco.  This time we headed for Monterey with its striking, natural and unspoiled shoreline. The Read more [...]


Highway robbers did holdups – stopped travelers under threat of violence to lighten their possessions. I was heldup for several days and only today was I released and able to continue my blog journey. The ethereal robber slipped through the internet highways and abruptly hijacked my laptop. It was not a baldfaced “stand and deliver” instead a more nuanced demand for protection money – the intruder announced it had identified serious virus threats and upon activation and payment of a ransom Read more [...]

2nd chicken coop done

Arrival of the egg laying chicken My neighbor offered me her 6 chicken and nesting boxes and metal waterer for a reasonable price and, because of the age and size difference between her mature egg laying chicken and my youngsters, I built a second chicken coop to receive them as well as a separate fenced outdoor exercise and grazing area. I refurbished a horse stall into a chicken coop using scrap lumber and wire fence leftovers.  I used screws rather than nails since it is easier to undo Read more [...]

the perfect loaf (of whole wheat bread)

How we achieved the perfect whole wheat loaf After considerable trial and error we produced a perfect loaf of whole wheat bread.  Previous iterations experienced fallen tops or were short and heavy.  Here is the recipe: Add to the baking pan of Zojirushi (model BBCC-S15 which has capacity of 1 loaf of approximately 1.0 to 1.5 lbs with height 6" to 8"): 1.5 cups warm water (not too hot); 1/3 cup pure canola oil including a dash of olive oil; 1/3 cup raw honey; 2 tsp salt; 1 free Read more [...]

supplementary feeding

Usually in the middle of the summer season some of the tomatoes begin to flag and need supplementary feeding.  At this stage I like to add some bone meal.  The roots of tomato plants typically grow vertically (unlike my muscadines where their roots head out horizontally and, like the vines, seem to extend for considerable distances, to suck up the nutrients intended for neighboring plants). My tomatoes are enclosed in tomato cages and are mulched with layers of newspaper and tree chippings Read more [...]

lifting things

Heavy items can be a challenge to lift when you are single handed and no longer in your 20's or 30's. Installing an island oven/range hood I recently had to install an island oven/range hood - this is the hood which fits above an island range in a kitchen. If the range was located against an exterior wall it would be a simpler matter to install a wall vent. However, an island range hood is more complicated because the hood has to be suspended from the ceiling. I cut a hole in the ceiling Read more [...]

trying to get smarter

A few evenings ago, after locking the chicks in the pen, I heard an unusual noise and went to investigate.  The coop is divided by an inner partition.  The two Golden Comets were on the one side on the roosting perch, which didn't surprise me since from the get go they were ostracized and even though now they appear to be accepted, they still act independently.  On the other side of the partition I saw an unusual sight - the other six chicks appeared to be shoving and tugging to get into a corner Read more [...]

the weak and the strong

I walk through the woods after a storm. A number of trees have fallen. They are smaller than the trees which remain standing – smaller in girth and smaller in height, though of the same type. The woods were harvested about 30 years ago so most of these trees began growing at the same time. The trees which grew faster won more sunlight which enabled them to grow even faster. The trees which fall down after strong winds couldn’t compete with the stronger trees. Even among the stronger trees Read more [...]

making whole wheat bread

A wise man once told me "You are what you eat".  At the time I ate whatever I wished and being in my mid- 20's and healthy, I saw little need to change my eating habits.  Nowadays I eat "healthy" which includes whole wheat bread and, noting the cost of 100% whole wheat bread and wishing to be as self-reliant as possible, I decided to venture down the bread making route. Acquiring a whole wheat bread maker First stop was a bread making machine (I could have tried hand kneading but I like machines) Read more [...]