Spring Is Here

Spring is here

     Today I really felt that Southern California had shrugged off Winter.  It was warm and a little humid out, my Satsuma plum is in full bloom, and my desert tortoise (endangered species; I’m his third owner and he’s licensed) Homer came out of hibernation in the closet.  He’s still sleepy and grumpy, and I can relate to that.

I also saw the first Red Diamondback Rattlesnake today, newly emerged from hibernation, sunning itself in the cleft of a boulder about head height.  My hiking buddy Alex and I were at Santa Margarita River Preserve, and there was this somnamulant reptile soaking in the sun and enjoying the radiating warmth of the rock.  We posed right next to him or her, and he or she didn’t care.  This would not be the case on a hot summer’s day! 

     This intermediate dry spell is important for the construction of the permaculture garden because the soil is still too wet to allow trucks down on the property.  We are investigating the best way to create the ponds, which at this time will incorporate a dry rock creekbed that will catch and channel rainwater and allow it to perculate into the soil, another pond for water holding, and a possible natural swimming pond.  The swimming pond works on the same concept as a natural greywater system.  Beside the swimming area is another deep area filled with different grades of rock.  Water plants which clean water with their roots are planted on top in a naturalistic way.   Water is pumped into this area from the bottom, and as the water rises through the gravel and plant roots it becomes clear, then is transported into the swimming area.  No chemicals needed; in fact, chemicals would ruin the biological balance of the pond.  The swimming pond is clean and ready for human use, and also provides riparian habitat, food and acts as a watering hole for many animals.   They are popular in Europe and other countries, and are slowly catching on here in America. Of course, people throughout time have swum in gunky swimming ponds; this is just making one for oneself.   This is a YouTube link to a UK pond builder.  He is hawking a video on his project, which is only available in the UK and thus wouldn’t play on US DVD players, but this short video tells a lot about swimming ponds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JoQthEBl6U .  Clicking on this link will navigate you away from this page.  I just love his Liverpudlian accent.

Today I became the owner of clumping giant bamboo, and a Buddha’s Hand citron.  So very cool!  The bamboo can be used for all kinds of structures, and with the citron I can make my own candied fruit for desserts.  Did you know that candied fruit is called  succade?  Nope, neither did I. 

Creepy, but fun and very fragrant.  The fruits are mostly peel, and are used to scent rooms and clothes in Asia.  Also planted were various stonefruits, including 4-in-1 apples, apricot, cherry, pear, peaches, nectarines and Asian pear.  I also became the proud owner of two little kumquat trees.  They are loaded with fruit, and since they were purchased from an organic nursery, this crop doesn’t have to go to waste (you eat kumquats whole). 

So, after a morning of Zumba at the Fallbrook Community Center, planting and feeding my many animals, then four hours of intense hiking, my legs are trying to get me to walk upstairs to bed and stay there.  Sounds like a good idea to me.

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