These are Elephant Garlic bulbs. Elephant Garlic is actually a type of giant leek that forms bulbs. I’m not sure it has the regular medicinal qualities of its more sharp-tasting garlic-brothers…. but I am sure it is a still a very healthy thing to eat. I’ve eaten a half pound or more of these at a time… roasted over fire, wrapped in foil and saturated with olive oil. I got the original bulbs from some fellow from whom I had purchased a Roto-tiller about 25 years ago. Ever since I’ve kept the original strain going. I don’t always harvest them yearly… I often let a single bulb grow into a clump for a few years…. Above is a sample clump that resulted from a single clove being planted some four years ago. I now need to break it apart much like you’d divide flower bulbs. These ones should have had this done BEFORE the rains came and got the roots going….
In the photos above we see the clump has been hosed off, to remove most of the soil, and let the roots separate more easily. Separating the roots is much like de-tangling long hair after a four day motorcycle ride.
In our area with the mild winters, it is usual to plant garlic in the middle of October, so I am two months behind. They’ll still grow well though…. and again I’ll likely not harvest in June when they haveripened. So they’ll grow on again for another couple of years in the new spots on two terraces on the hill side
This is how I load the bulbs into the soil…. I just raked the terrace of the excess brush, and then sliced into the soil with a flat spade, pushed it forward to open a little slice into which I dropped the bulbs. I then removed the spade, and pushed the soil around the growing shoot.After this they should be watered to let the soil settle around the newly disturbed and broken roots. Elephant garlic likes good soil…. In our area the garlic does pretty well with just the usual rainfall. It grows through the winter, and matures in the spring when the rains stop. As the early spring comes in, and the foliage starts to die all watering must cease. The bulbs should be harvested and stored in a totally dry, airy and dark location…. We don’t have much of a place like that, so I leave them in the ground where they can be dug as needed through the summer.
Once winter comes again, the bulbs remaining in the soil will start to grow new roots and then foliage…. this is the time you can’t eat the sprouted bulbs…. so if we do need garlic and don’t have any stored, I can harvest the occasional bulb with stalk…. they look much like a giant green onion or leek, slice nicely into a stir-fry or fresh salad. Later when the stalks have become more mature and starting to become pithy, the plants will put out their flower heads…. these can be eaten in several stages of growth….
So even though we only eat the garlic bulbs for half the year… we still get really fine eating out of the other parts of the plants during the rest of the year.
This is one of the clumps of garlic. It is at the stage where the flowers are dead, the stalk has decayed… and the bulbs are going dormant. At this stage they should not be watered anymore. But these ones were growing in the cactus patch, so they did get watered a bit each summer, and survived through well for four years.
This is how large these bulbs can become. This one was about one pound.
They only get this size when grown under optimal conditions. In this case I planted the largest bulbs at the proper time, in perfect soil… rich and loamy. I water a few times until the autumn rains came and kepot them moist through the entire winter….. then as March came, the rains stopped… the seed stalks were harvested as they came out to direct growth to the bulbs, and I did not water. When the foliage showed four or five leaves drying well on the plants, I took them all up and stored them away. But since then I’ve decided it is so much easier to let them store in the ground, grown in the large clumps. We can harvest a bit when we need some, and not haveto worry about a bunch of garlic stored in the attic. Less work, lazier, easier… the bulbs aren’t as pretty though. Grown in the clumps they do not get as large, and as they sit throughthe summer in the ground, they get stained by the soil, so they’re not as clean and pristine. Sometimes the bulbs will separate into the individual cloves, this will allow a lot of dirt to get into the bulb, reducing its use cooked whole in foil. But my stomach doesn’t know the difference.. they still taste the same.
I ran across a fellow in Nipomo who was driving this truck. I like the work done on it. It really runs well!!! Sure, it’s not flashy, chromey, or even clean….
but dang, this truck has character. It’s got a number of little custom things…..
it’s a truck put together by a fellow who really likes his truck
Did I mention how well this truck runs and how great it sounds!?
When I asked how he wanted his name printed… he said….
‘Just say ‘A guy in Nipas’”
‘Nipas’ is the local colloquial term for our fair town of Nipomo
In the following video science teacher Greg Craven explains the choices facing us in response to Global Warming. He charts a graph, and breaks it into two columns, action and inaction, and two lines, one for Global Warming is real, and one for Global warming is not real. Then he breaks the two factors down where they intersect on the graph.
It’s an interesting perspective. As he says, it comes down to ‘risk management’.
This next video is about the same… but narrowed down a bit tighter due to responses he’s gotten from people after the first video above was loaded in.
I run to
find out about
a gleaming mica chip
a feather that falls
from the sky,
a pale blue turquoise bead,
the top of an old tin can,
and the pipe
that a miner
smoked by his campfire
and left on the ground
while she slept.
I take it all.
I am a gatherer of treasure . . .
and berries and roots,
sweet red summer cactus fruit,
and a piece of a clear glass bottle
turned purple by the sun.
close to home,
close to the trails I know,
close to the rocks where I was born,
close to the cholla cactus
I climb so easily.
Everything I want
In the cool evenings
darting from rock to rock,
out of sight of coyotes and owls.
I run back and forth
with my mouth full of treasures.
I go home at sunrise,
all the good things
back to my nest,
my pile of sticks and dirt
and cholla cactus thorns.
It holds me safe.
It hides my shining secrets
in the dust.
This is a pack-rat in an oak tree. Usually I never get a good look at one, they are such a quick blur running through the brush, that when I see them out of the corner of my eye and turn to them, they are already hidden away in the foliage. They usually stay on the ground also. I think this guy might have been chased into the tree by one of our cats. This tree is right in front of our house. My brother was visiting from North Carolina and saw it first… he saw the tail hanging down and thought it might be a possum….
This is a Packrat nest. They are a collection of twigs arranged on the ground under the oak trees. They quite often are built around a small tree for support. The twigs seem to be arranged something like a thatch roof, directing water away from the nest, keeping the little family dry, warm and cozy inside.
Packrats are very clean little animals. There is nothing messy, or creepy about them when you get to see them up close. But they are fast movers.
There is such a diversity of animals and plant life all over, the opportunities for learning are profound. To let the world pass before you without note is a shame, yet you cannot possess it. The world is for us to use not abuse, to steward, not to own. It is a trust gifted to us, and we are called to take care of all we are given to safeguard.
We recently got some snow in the hills a bit above our elevation.
Going through the Santa Maria Valley I was able to take a photo, but it did not show the snow too well.
You can see the farm machinery harvesting lettuce… this is the day before the rains started here… they wanted to get all they could out of the field before it turned to mud.
This is in the bottom of the canyon… this particular spot doesn’t get any sun for a couple of months in the middle of winter.
So when the grasses freeze, it can stay like this for several weeks.
Micro-climates are when a particular area has a weather climate that is different than the prevailing overall conditions. In this case the particulars of airflow, elevation, air drainage, the nearby flowing stream, and lack of any direct sunshine for a couple of months leads to this particular spot having a radically different climate than where we raise the cactus a mile away which is on a south-facing hillside nearly a thousand feet above the canyon bottom.
Don’t wanna wait ’til tomorrow
Why put it off another day?
One by one, little problems
Build up, and stand in our way.
One step ahead, one step behind it
Now ya gotta run to get even
Make future plans I’ll dream about yesterday,
Come on turn, turn this thing around
(Right now) Hey! It’s your tomorrow
(Right now) Come on, it’s everything
(Right now) Catch your magic moment
Do it right here and now
It means everything
Miss a beat, you lose a rhythm
And nothin’ falls into place. Only missed by a fraction
Slipped a little off your pace.
The more things you get, the more you want
Just trade in one for another
Workin’ so hard to make it easy
Whoa, got to turn.
Come on, turn this thing around
(Right now) Hey, it’s your tomorrow
(Right now) Come on, it’s everything
(Right now) catch that magic moment
Do it right here and now
It means everything
Catch the magic in each and every day. If you did something good, the day is a success. But today won’t wait around for you till tomorrow…. in the end, we see the time rushing up to us like a huge wave…. and each moment we dawdle, the wave continues to us…. don’t watch time or the wave…. know they come, but timing is crucial… turn from it, and release yourself to the power, letting it take you along the current… surrender completely and embrace perfect peace. When you feel it slipping under you, raising you up it’s time to stand… and if done well you go from one world to the next… from water to sand… from this life to another on the wave of time. But you can’t stop the wave…. it is blown across the galaxy of time on the winds that God creates…. and there’s no fighting it.. although occasionally some get spit out in the churning and tell us of the waves… I once saw the wave glisten and shine and roar as it passed by for another…. and it changed my life.
Hold onto Restraint, remember always to have compassion. No matter how great you are, no matter how powerful and cunning, and quick you are, You will still find compassion to be your greatest ally.
Blessed are the mercifull, for they will receive mercy
I’m brought to smile often at a memory of a trip I made to the market, a young man in his twenties was with his parents or grandparents. He was mentally disabled, and strode through the market with the simplicity and wonder of a child. He reached his hands up to the lights as a child will to the stars. His face had the radiant glow of a saint, and his loving caregivers indulged his whims. They strode the market with him, holding hands, loving and adaptable to his mind. They showed no shame of him, and he in his simplicity walked through the market happy in his ignorance. Looking through his eyes at a new world, one he had never seen before, until he recognized a food he loved, then he asked for it.
There was something about his happy countenance that thrilled me, this is the essence of humanity itself, stripped of all indulgences, ego, and aspirations. This young man looks for nothing out of life, he lives from one moment to the next. And his caregivers provide all for him, and will love him to the end of their days.
This is the way I see God providing for us in Paradise, we will not need to worry about anything, all will be taken care of by a loving and benevolent Master. But this is not the way of this fallen world. Although the world is beautiful it is also a harsh and nasty place, full of killing and dying. All things destroy something in order to live, from the smallest paramycium living on detritus on the forest floor, to the lion killing a fawn to eat. But one day the lion will lay down with the lamb, and the Shepard will watch over them all. But in this life this young man will be provided for by the loving couple until their demise, then perhaps some others will watch over him, and someday I may see him in his old age, walking through the market with the same look of wonder in his eyes, hands reaching to the sky.
From the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find,
knock and the door will be opened.
For everyone who asks recieves, and he who seeks finds,
and to all who knock, the door will be opened.
What man among you when his son asks for bread would give him a stone?
And when he asks for a fish would give him a snake?
If you then who are imperfect know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father
who is perfect give good things to those who ask him?
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about what you will eat,
or what you will wear, isn’t your life more than it’s food?
And your body more than it’s clothing?
Look at the birds of the sky, they neither sow nor reap,
nor gather into barns, yet God feeds them.
Which of you by thinking can add a day to his life?
And why do you worry about clothing?
Consider the lillies of the field, how they grow,
they neither toil nor spin, and yet I tell you
that not even Solomon in all his glory was robed like one of these.
Therefore if God so clothes the grass that grows in the field today,
and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won’t he all the more clothe you?
So don’t worry about these things and say ‘what will we eat, and what will we wear’,
for that is what the gentiles seek,
and your Father knows that you need these things, but first seek the Kingdom of God.
And these things will be given to you as well.