Saturday, June 18, 2011

Making Friends

The other day when we were down in CA, Alder and I took time out of our busy painting schedule to take a walk around the land. We could feel the pull on both of us, out to the back part of the land, where things are a little wilder...we just wandered that way, coffee in hand, knowing we had painting to do...

I collected plants for a bouquet. I had found a tequila bottle which I think must have belonged to one of the previous (probably a long time ago) owners, hidden behind the fridge in a dusty crevice, and, washing it clean, it's very art-deco looking so I was glad to find some flowers to put in it.

I can't tell you how odd and cool it is-how happy it makes me, to make acquaintance again with all of the plants I knew so well as a child, but did not know their name.
So on this day, Alder called out the names as I picked things.

Some I know-I'd know anywhere. Plantain, Dandelion, and Wild Oats! What medicine, and Oh, I love the wild oats! I have such fond memories of the oats behind our house-dry and brown after a long summer, and the first rain perfumed the air with such a warm, yummy fragrance-oatstraw tea all over the place!

What ended up in my bouquet (above) are, Brodia (purple flower-species unsure), a wild tall Hypericum (St. Johns wort), wild yarrow, Oats, one other unknown grass, and an unknown stinky daisy looking thing (sort of looks like feverfew)...ah, yes, we need weed books! They are on their way. Well, not the UC Davis one-it's two volumes and "cheap" is $64, so that one will wait!

While I picked flowers, Alder noticed that there was a 2nd species of oak on the land.
We THINK these two are Blue oak (right) and Valley Oak (left), but we'll have to key them, as well as the herbs and grasses, etc. out before we know for sure, and before I attempt to make medicine out of anything.

While I looked at the ground, Alder looked out at the landscape.
Our land is only 1.5 acres, but right next to it, unfenced are two small peninsulas, one near the house, and the other out on the back of the property, separated by a gully (which will hopefully someday be a pond) and these two peninsulas, if added to our area that we can walk and sit and harvest from, increase the land to probably over 2 acres. At the edge of this back peninsula, half of it falls straight away down about 12 feet to a small wet spot, where there must be something good-we'll find out, and that "creek" goes south up the hill onto the neighbor's land and up to two ponds, while it also goes downhill to the seasonal creek with the large open bed and tall cut banks, that gives the area it's name "Red Bank" district.
The other half of this back peninsula slopes down steeply, but enough to walk down to the bottom there, and just above it is a spot where cat-tails grow, a sign of year round water. Which means a lot of things...

We are both terribly excited to go exploring! I keep telling him though, just watch your feet in the sunny spots. The first time I said that, it got a quizzical look. Snakes. Rattlesnakes. BIIIIG eatin' size rattlesnakes! Oh, I can't wait!


  1. hi there from holy scrap. it's wendy writing to wish you well. i hear you got yourselves a trailer! ha ha, congrats. as you may know a bit of sheetrock and some bamboo flooring goes a long way in making a trailer feel more stationary. if i were to do it again, I'd add a layer of blue board insulation beneath the sheetrock. insulation's a good thing, esp in a trailer! i just wish you guys chose NM so we could be neighbors. well, you can always stop in if your down this way. we'll be reading along. maybe we can talk about swapping medicinal plants? will you be doing any wildcrafting? best xo . .. wendy from holy scrap

  2. HI Wendy,
    I wrote you a note once here and the computer ate it, so I'm just getting back to finally replying.
    Our mobile had laminate flooring down already-not what I'd choose but it looks good and was done already, so it will stay for now. As for the sheetrock, I've hung it before and it was hard we opted for just paint-I don't mind the sort of "country" look of painted paneling and AT LEAST it's not brown!!
    I agree on the insulation, although we're going to "observe for one year" and see what it's like. Right now the outside (aluminum siding) is painted dark (barn) red, so when we get a chance it's going to go white, which should help the heat at the south end. The N. end is staying pretty nice, although I resort to a small window AC in the hottest afternoons.
    I just don't want to do anything anymore that smacks of serious renovation-although the kitchen in this place IS going to be gutted at some point-it's just ugly, not well used and falling apart.
    We definitely would like to plan a trip-we have a lot of friends in the south west, but animals makes it hard... I will eventually be wildcrafting, but right now even knowing what things are and finding out is low on my list...SOOO much to do!!