A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens

I’m so in love with my passion fruit vine. Like, more than like, like. Love!

Not only does it give me bucketfuls of tantalizing and delicious fruit, but it also is always lush with bright green healthy leaves all year round. It is drought-proof as well it seems and the most vigorous grower of any of my plants.  It is the fastest, prettiest, and tastiest way to provide privacy as well!

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Not to mention the mesmerizingly beautiful blooms that last for all the warm months here in San Diego.

Passion fruit flower.
Did I mention the passion fruit? So good!

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Broke and Bone Dry: California Water Utility Companies are Essentially Fining Californians for Conserving Water!

I. am. so. thirsty…

It’s been a rough four years here on the West coast. A record drought has ravaged the land year after year and everyone has been feeling the effects. For two years in a row, farmers have had to fallow over a half million acres of land each year. Birds burst into flames spontaneous and drop from the skies like small squawking comets. Reservoirs are receding at alarming rates leaving little more than dried cracked earth and masses of huddled boats and extremely nervous fish.

I often liken it to living on the surface of the sun. When traveling about town, I find it prudent to make slow furtive movements, like that of a tortoise, in hopes that I do not dehydrate into a pile of dust like an ill-stowed mummy. I keep looking to the heavens in search of the giant child with a magnifying glass here to dole out karmic retribution for the evils of my youth.

As a gardener, I feel the effects on a profoundly deep and personal level.  But I’m not alone; it has gotten so bad that Gov. Jerry Brown (ex-lead singer of the Dead Kennedys*) has mandated a mandatory state-wide 25% reduction in water usage. In short, it’s been bleak people!

Mind Your Dirt urban “farms” has done its part in spades! I’ve gotten my water usage down between 60-70% without having to sacrifice too many plants. I’ve even figured out a way to maintain a small portion of my lawn with lush and deep green results!  I’ve created a small scale grey-water reclamation system, replaced many plants with native and drought-tolerant species, layered up thick mulches, and have tried creating shadier micro-climate / “cool zones” that also serve to produce food stuffs for my belly!

In other words, I’ve paid my dues more than two-fold of what was asked of me by the state of California.


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So why is it that I now have to suffer from increased rates and fees from the water utility company because their profits are being hindered by too much (mandatory) water conservation? Essentially they’re upset because I’m not buying the water that they don’t have to sell me in the first place?!? What fresh hell is this?

Just read for yourself.

It’s truly a “fined if you do, fined if you don’t” scenario and I am left bereft of hydration and money. Pooped and demoralized. Here, on the surface of the sun. As birds burst into flames.

If you’re having trouble seeing my tears it’s because they evaporate instantly.

[*just kidding. I had you there for a minute didn’t I…]

Deflowering the Beast

Sometimes mans dominion over nature sounds absolutely terrifying and short-sighted to me. The great hubris that has caused so much destruction is not a sentiment I often tout. This is until we begin discussing the deadly Sago Palm (or cycad, more accurately). Then my inner lumberjack kicks in and I sharpen machetes and gas up chainsaws.

You may recall last year when I posted about the serious level of pruning I do to my beautiful, yet deadly, Sago. If you don’t, take a gander at this surgical operation…

The Sago Palm: Ancient, Beautiful and Actively Trying to Kill Your Family.

Well, it’s beginning to be that time once again. As you can see in the featured image above (from this morning), she is pushing out another giant flower which will be jam packed with massive seeds. They look so much like the king palm nuts that my dog loves to chew on that I am forced to dispatch with these seeds as soon as this flower opens up.

But, at least I’m not alone in this forced dominion, the Chicago Botanic Garden has recently had to force a pollination on their Titan Arum, or corpse flower. You know, that massive flower that smells like a stinking rotten corpse mixed with old baby diapers? Yeah, that one.

All of the botany folks on the Interwebs and countless visitors of the garden have been waiting with anticipation for this flower to open up. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be as the titan has refused to open and the botanists had to step in and help it along with a surgical procedure so that they could self-pollinate. Check out the process!

This has helped to bolster my resolve to once again don my hazmat suit and katana in preparation for the painful deflowering of the beast. Wish me luck!