peppersFlowers_lAs readers of this site know, it is dedicated in part to my dearly departed dog, Pepper. She is buried in my back yard, where I planted flowers on her grave. I now have a profusion of beautiful flowers growing there. I like to think that Pepper is still providing me natural beauty by helping these flowers to grow.

Some of you may be a bit squeamish about this–Yuck, he’s talking about his dog decomposing!–but I’m not squeamish at all. This is nature’s way, to recycle organic nutrients into other living things. This is part of the beauty of nature and nothing to be squeamish about, but something to celebrate, just as I celebrate the joy that Pepper brought me for years while she was living and now, still, that she is not.

blackRasperryPint_lMy black raspberry is producing now. The berries keep getting bigger and better every year. Perhaps that’s the advantage of a perennial–every year the root system gets bigger and I get more and better berries. This year’s berries are melt-in-your-mouth sweet and juicy. The berry quality seems to come, too, from my learning to be patient, waiting just a few extra days for the berries to be ripe instead of picking them just a little too early. This is part of the art of being a farmer, knowing when to harvest. It’s one of the hardest things for me to learn. That and being patient.

This year also promises to be a record-setting level of production. Last year I set a record of 24 pints of berries from my vine. (more…)

Book review: Engeland, Ron L(1991). Growing great garlic: The definitive guide for organic gardeners and small farmers. Filaree Productions, Okanogan, WA. 217 pp. (Read other reviewsof this book on