Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eat Your Landscape!

Our Organic Yard Features Edible Landscape  

Over the time that we've lived in our Santa Barbara home we've worked to create beautiful and edible landscape.  The climate (and drip irrigation) allow us to grow a variety of plants that produce food and beauty.  In this post I'll continue our tour of the edible landscape around our home.

The bench under our avocado tree creates a private space where Susan and I meet at the end of every day.

The fig tree is just outside our kitchen window. It produces sweet figs that fruit eating birds love.  We see a variety of birds including western tanagers and hooded orioles.

These are loquats, an Asian fruit distantly related to apples.  They were imported here from southeastern China.  Local history suggests they may have first have been brought across the pacific by the Spanish during our colonial period.   

We have two macadamia nut trees. This particular tree is very healthy and a heavy producer.  Imagine - macadamia chocolate chip cookies!  Yummmmm.

This dwarf navel orange tree in the front yard is a fine producer of nice large, sweet, eating oranges.     
Citrus does well here. We have a blood orange tree, mandarin orange, bearss lime, bearss lemon and...

tangerines!  This dwarf tree is a crazy producer.  It lives happily near our backyard compost corral and has been the beneficiary of lots of mulch over the years.


Our compost corral is where we put the yard trimming and kitchen waste we generate to work feeding worms and bugs. We water and turn the pile while adding to it.  In the winter, when the yard goes dormant and the rain comes, we find the pile works quickly and by spring we're ready to harvest almost a cubic yard of fine compost and worm castings.  After years off application in the yard we can really see how the compost corral feeds nutrients and biological benefits into the yard.  Compost can create a problem with mice and rats.  Our cats do a fine job of eliminating that problem.
We'll be offering our home for long term rental this year and would like to have a family that would enjoy living in the garden and would continue to enjoy the benefits of a yard that's healthy and good enough to eat.     


beansgood said...

So... you will keep your California home and live 365 in PEI? You have quite the paradise setting there so I can see how leaving would be difficult.

On the other hand.... there is a paradise of a different kind await you over this way. Not without a price to pay but I think the return far outweighs the sacrifice of leaving your beautiful home. Somehow, I think it's not about the home you've come to love but the outside elements that would seek to threaten the tranquility you have strived to obtain.

So.. when you heading 'home'? You realize that once you get here permanently, you'll be referred to as John (and wife) from 'away'. LOL!

When I would visit my relatives there, I'd here "How long you home for?" I have cousins who moved "home" and they are now considered to be from away. You know this quirkiness, I'm sure.

John Quimby said...

Hi Michelle,

You wrote: "Somehow, I think it's not about the home you've come to love but the outside elements that would seek to threaten the tranquility you have strived to obtain."

Exactly so.

It's not the same place I grew up in. Of course they've been saying that around here for 150 years!

Back when I was a young man I worked on one of the old family cattle ranches here. That ranch is gone now . My best friend Will grew up there and he's been to the Maritimes and out to our farm several times.

He called the other night and said, "I want to go to Canada."
Work sucks, his health is bad and he's afraid of being laid off if he leaves.

I said, "Listen God Dammit, you come on out and we'll find a place for you. I'd really appreciate it if you didn't work yourself to death before we have a chance to spend some time together." (He's a cowboy and you have to talk to him like that.)

He and I and Susan know something about coming home in PEI, even if we are and always will be from away. That's alright.

There are some things we appreciate more than our neighbors do about our rural community.

And...there a some things about California we can never come home to any more. It's a ghost I dream about.

As you say, when my PEI neighbors call or write they ask, "when are you coming home?"

And when I get to the farm I know several neighbors will come up the lane within 24 hours and ask, "So when did you get home?"

How could you not love that?