The Calm Before the Storm: Backyard Progress Report Jan 2017

People keep asking me if I’m sick of the rain yet. I give a resounding, “are you mad!?” Who in their right mind would be sick of rain after six years of drought? So, no, I’m not sick of it. I worship it, I adore it and I dance naked in it. Don’t start peeping over my fence now! The very first thing I did when I bought the house, and stared for hours out into the vast expanse of nothingness, was to re-grade my whole lot. I built dry riverbeds and redirected potential flows of water from one bed to the next. And then year after year of drought followed. Finally, this year has above average rains and I get to put my landscaping to the ultimate test. And guess what, it all works (mostly) perfectly. Not a drop is wasted on runoff to the adjacent lots. It’s mine all mine!! Mwahahahaha!

And now that the guinea fowl population has been drastically reduced and the remaining two are too afraid to scratch a single bed or path for fear of the ultimate and final punishment, I can now return to business as usual. I can now finally replant, transplant, deadhead and prune without the bubbling rage and constant destruction.

Better late than never is the strategy for my winter veggie garden. Today before the next storm rolled in I dropped in some late kale, spinach, bok choy and collard greens. The first of the remaining guinea fowl to even look at this bed will end up in the pot faster than you can say, “never get guinea fowl”.

Continue reading “The Calm Before the Storm: Backyard Progress Report Jan 2017”

A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens


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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!

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!

Continue reading “A Hobbit’s Compost Bin and the Happy Hens”

The Somber Feast: Roasting My Troubles Away in 2017

The other day I let you guys know that I was no longer playing games with my game. That 2016 was finally going to end, along with the lives of my flock of guinea fowl.

Well, I was mostly true to my word despite the shakiness of my convictions. On the last day of 2016, I was unable to sleep in at all. I knew what the day would bring and I was nervous about doing the dirty deed that needed doing.

I was up before the sunrise and began the mental preparation. I enlisted the help of my friend Kevin for the day of hunting. I needed help catching these high-flying screaming ninjas, but I also really needed emotional support. I caught one early that morning, but couldn’t bring myself to kill the little thing quite yet, so I let it go.

When Kevin showed up, the hunt was on and I was resolved as much as I could be. It wasn’t going to get any easier for me emotionally, so I had to suck it up. So we armed ourselves and headed out into the wilds of my urban backyard.

We had a few clean shots in the beginning, but the bow and arrow proved to be utterly useless for the dead-eye accuracy we needed. With a few shots off, the guinea fowl were on to us and quickly took shelter in the giant pepper tree.

This meant that I had to run around the front of the house and down the back of the dirt lot next door. Up over a cinder block wall and up into the tree. I climbed about 20 feet up to the top where I could scare the fowl down to the ground.

This time we tried to use the crossbow. But here’s the problem, you can’t take a clean shot unless the arrow will go into the ground if we missed. And missed we did! The sight was no longer calibrated properly so we had to do the best we could. We did manage to kill a shed and a metal door with the bolts, but not a single shot hit it’s true intended mark. I had about five shots that would’ve surely killed a fowl, but it was too dangerous to take them with all the houses around my yard. It just wasn’t safe enough to try the crossbow much longer.

So we improvised. We tried to catch them by hand. I would climb the tree or hop a fence to try to scare them towards my friend. After about three hours, I estimate that I had climbed the tree over eight times and hopped over about twenty five walls or fences.

It was just impossible to catch them and I was getting crazy tired and sore. It was just like watching Ninja Warrior. Except it was three hours long. The sun was beginning to get low in the sky and all four guinea fowl were about four houses away from us at this point. I couldn’t press any further for fear of getting shot myself by wandering into a strangers property.

With much weariness and frustration, we called it quits. Guinea fowl 4, humans 0.

I was saddened that I couldn’t finish this dark deed before the end of the year, but couldn’t figure out any other way to snag the beasts. So, we questioned our manliness and hunter/gatherer status and made preparations for new year eve sorrow drowning.

My resolve was tested and my promise to you readers was broken. In shame and defeat, I decided to drink heavily at a tiki-themed party in Mission Hills. Continue reading “The Somber Feast: Roasting My Troubles Away in 2017”