Thursday, June 29, 2006

Summer Fog

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It was bound to happen. We've been waiting, hardly daring to breathe. After several weeks of glorious sun, crystal clear blue skies and WARMTH, the fog is back. Dense, wet, drippy fog. It covers everything. It weighs down the flower stalks. It causes roses to develop the hated black-spot and the just setting vegetable blossoms to rot and drop off. It drips from the alder trees, wetting our heads as we walk up the path to the house. It blocks out the sun and makes us shiver in the middle of the day. AND, it feeds the redwoods which is why we live here. It keeps our little section of California green while the rest of the state is brown and, often this time of year, scorched.
Am I complaining? Only a little. I've become accustomed to it. Resigned, really. The Sacramento valley girl in me wants to high-tail it inland to the sun and heat, planting tomatoes as I go. But to tell the truth, I don't tolerate that valley heat like I used to. Still, maybe the sun will come out again tomorrow. For now, there's beauty to be found regardless of the weather.

This little guy is grounded until the fog droplets dry from
his wings and hairs. You've got to click on this to see the
incredible close-up details.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Pin It This stunning hibiscus lives in the Minneapolis garden of our friends M & C.

We visited them recently on our way to the east coast. It was so wonderful to see them and be shown the sights of their beautiful city.
I saw my first Cardinal there, had a fantastic dinner at a restaurant called Corner Table, visited with our friends for 3 lovely, if hot and muggy, days and sprained my ankle while not watching where I was going. M immediately wrapped it, securing it with a great pin, then packed it in ice. That I was able to continue the trip, walking alot, I attribute to her deft ministrations.

I have a few more flower photos from our stay in Mpls that I'll put up soon.

Thanks guys!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Red Dragonfly

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I've been trying to catch these critters in my camera for a couple of days now and although I got lucky today, they are very skittish, nervous and difficult to photograph. I'll keep trying though, so view these as samples of delights to come.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Just Jack

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Hello, I'm Jack. I have a ball. Sometimes, if I'm very, very good, my people will throw the ball for me. Then I get to chase it and bring it back to them so they can throw it again. This is my favorite game in the whole wide world. I can do it all day long and never get tired. It's more fun than chewing on a bone. It's more fun than rolling in some great smelling, sticky stuff that gets my people so excited they put me in the bathtub. It's more fun than my day job, which is watching the horse to make sure she doesn't get into the compost bin when she's out grazing. I'm real good at my job, but I'd much rather chase a ball. Wanna play?

Dragonflies and Damselflies

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My camera and I have been out in the garden these days
stalking an illusive (and yes, elusive) paprika-red dragonfly which you know
I will post, with glee, when I get a photo. Until then, there seem
to be many others ready for their "walk-on" and willing to stay
still enough for me to shoot. The above photos are of damselflies
which are different from dragonflies in that, among other things,
they can fold their wings along the length of their long tails while
dragonfly wings remain perpendicular. Click here for more information.
And, as always, click on photos to see the exquisite details.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Another Day Another Lily

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Day Lilies. Some people love them and others hate them. They harbor snails and slugs, earwigs and sowbugs. They can be quite ugly after blooming time has past. Me, I can't help loving them, snails and all. Their blooms are so pretty and their buds are edible. And I just really like them.
Remember to click on photos to enlarge.

Friday, June 16, 2006

How Tall is Your Lawn?

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Here is a photo of the "amazing growing grasses" that I call a lawn.
Well, I call it a lawn when it's mowed. Right now it's overgrown weeds.
A prairie really. No seeds were planted to create this lawn.
It's simply the grasses, daisies and berries that grow in this part of the world.
Of course I did plant the orange crocosmia you see in the foreground and the
tea tree, maple, rose and clematis you might be able to see in the background.
But the rest of it is wild stuff. Sigh... Lots of gardening to do.

This is a photo of the "lawn mower". Never was a horse so happy in her work.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Back Home and Glad to be Here

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We arrived back home from the east coast on Monday, after delays in Denver and trying to sleep in the SFO airport in the wee hours of Monday morning.
In our absence, the sun shown and the garden grew. And grew...

Finally we were able to fly home in to the Arcata/Eureka airport in drizzly rain which continued for the next three days. Quite a change from the muggy heat of Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.
Then this morning, it dawned clear, clean and sunny with dew everywhere and I was able to take some photos, which I'm working on and will post soon. In the meantime, here are a few lovely dianthus from Thomas Jefferson's garden at Monticello.

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

About Me

Pin It There are two things I inherited from my mother that bring me great joy: A passion for cooking and an obsession for digging in the dirt to make things grow.

I was raised in California's Sacramento Valley where the long, hot summers and deep, rich soil allowed for gardening in abundance and where cooking from and sharing the harvest of my garden was one of my greatest joys.

Now I live on the often foggy north coast of California where growing tomatoes is a challenge and learning cool, short-season gardening has many, albeit sometimes hard won, rewards.

My passion for cooking, gardening and feeding family and friends has never abated. When encouraged by my sons to write a family cookbook, during the process of fits and starts, I discovered the world of blogging and Christine Cooks was launched.

With the acquisition of my digital camera, the outside world beckoned and all too soon I was hooked. Who knew I would be so smitten by a tiny, sleek, silver, digital wonder that I would travel way down this fork in the road before I realized where I'd gone? Now I'm out in the garden everyday, seeking out the beautiful, the bizarre, the unique, the sometimes cruel, often plain and always honest lives of the flora and fauna that grace my garden and this beautiful region where I live.

That I tend to get really up close and personal with my subjects may be attributable to my childhood fantasies of wanting to be very, very small so I could see what life was like under a leaf, in the shelter of a fern, or in a toad's hollow.

I use a Canon PowerShot SD 450 Digital ELPH, 5.0 Megapixels. I know I have a lot to learn, but this little gem makes it all seem so simple.