Friday, September 7, 2012

The end of something beautiful...

So today was my last day at Elk Creek Garden.  It's finally sinking in that I won't be waking up and gardening tomorrow.  Phill and Kevin helped us at the garden harvesting some food for deliveries.  Then we made some zucchini bread to take on the road.  Sara has been amazing and is sending us off with lots of vegetables.  I am going to miss her delicious food.  We spent the day at Crater Lake, then came home for my last dinner with Sara and Sherm.  It's all happening too fast.  I wish I could slow it down, because I feel rushed, even though I've had all summer.

I honestly can say that it has been one of the best, more amazing summers of my life.  The people I've met are some of the most beautiful people, in every way.  I've gotten to not only garden in a beautiful place, but I got to do it with one of the most interesting and inspiring people.  I came into this summer, with an idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but I'm now open to a lot more after my experiences here. I'm even at a loss of words now to fully describe my love and appreciation for this place.  It will always have a special place in my heart, and I will never forget Sara.  It was always a great time working with her and she has taught me so much.  We've had lots of laughs and good talks, and even some good silence when we were just working around the garden.  

No words or pictures could convey the experience I've had this summer.  I feel more connected to this world, and to people that I thought possible.  Here's to an unforgettable summer...

: ) Love

Sunday, September 2, 2012


September is here already...what happened to summer?  I feel as if I blinked and it was over.  My experience at Elk Creek Gardens is coming to end...but to my next blog post will I get to's not yet time to be sad.

Things have been fairly mellow here so far.  It hasn't rained in a long time, so long I can't even remember when.  So it's been dry and hot; a little cooler lately though with mornings around 45 degrees. Brrrr.  We've been doing a lot of harvesting, putting bags together, and preserving!  I have been lacking on pictures lately (where is Lisa when you need her!) but we've pickled cucumbers, canned tomato sauce, canned beets, and more cucumbers.  

I also made applesauce the other day with one of these apples...

We have also planted some more for the fall.  It's slowing down, but there is still a lot of other action going on.  The gophers are still munching on plants as I turned over a melon today and it was hallowed out.  The deer made their way into the greenhouse and nibbled on the Napa cabbage...not all the extra ones, but the ones I transplanted, and not the small ones, but the bigger ones.  It's tough.  It's tough because all our hard work is constantly challenged by the animals and the bugs, that seem to never quite give up.  But on the other hand, can you blame them?  Here is a beautiful, luscious garden bursting with a bounty of options for them to choose from.  They're not targeting us, but only trying to survive.  But man, it's so frustrating trying to grow this food to feed yourself and others, and then find your lettuce nibbled down to the ground.  Thankfully there aren't eating it all, and we can get enough food...for now.

Today was a really relaxing day.  Sara and I had coffee and breakfast and talked for a bit waiting for the weather to wake up.  We made it out to the garden and got lots done on the list.  More cucumbers to be picked for pickling, melons to be turned and checked on, facets to be fixed, tomatoes to be picked, and have the ladybugs escape inside : )  So we did some preserving and watched a western movie about Captain Jack.  It was quite interesting...although we were missing Sherm who could have told us how in line the story was with the truth.  

For now, the garden seems to be giving us a break on the weeds, but the tomatoes and cucumbers are keeping us out there all the time.  I swear the cucumbers grow the second you leave.  They're small by morning, and overgrown by night.  Fast growers; and even though you can eat them when they're bigger they have developed their seeds and that is why you may get gas from digesting them.  But those big guys are great for chickens for love to peck at them.

One more week in Oregon, and at this beautiful paradise, then off to new adventures in California.  I'll be visiting a farm in Pescadero that will hopefully hire me for a year apprenticeship.  I'm crossing my fingers!   

Saturday, August 25, 2012


This past week has been filled with gallons upon gallons of huckleberries.  We went three times, so far, up the mountain to look for them.  More trips are in the future.  It was my first time picking and eating huckleberries fresh..delicious.  They grow in a moister environment, so you have to go up to find them.  There are huge patches of these bushes at certain places.  There's even places named after them...Huckleberry Gap and Huckleberry Lake.  They're about the size of blueberries (big blueberries if you're lucky) and they're a deep purple-blue when ripe.  The first and second times we went up, we took a few snacks and picked for a few hours.  The third time..homemade salsa, fruit, and beer.  Slowly, we were making a great day out of it.  We even ran into a friend this last time when we stopped for a short climb to a beautiful view - almost 360 degree view of the area.  The road was quite bumpy, but our rewards for worth it.  We found the many huckleberries, we practically had to drag ourselves away.  And while the first time we made some huckleberry pancakes, the third time we finally deserved pie : )

It's almost September and I'm still the happy girl I was in the fact my happiness and love have only grown.  Today, I got some last minute purchases done for my next future mat and books for my training, and my train ticket home.  It feels like I've been gone for so long, but it's only been 3 months.  In another 3 months, I'll be taking my first cross-country train ride ever...

Until then, I'll enjoy the fresh air of the mountains, the chirping of the birds, the mooing of the cows, the barking of Hobbs, the silence of the garden, and the breath of life all around me.  The days are slowing down, and the weather is too.  Fall is creeping in with its warm hues and chilly mornings.  Here's to the beauty of world.

All my love,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

And the food just keeps coming...

So the summer is winding down, as we are beginning to harvest lots, and plant for the fall.  Lately, we've been picking a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers at leasttt once a day, basil, corn, melons, strawberries, green beans, broccoli, and more.  Old green beans are being pulled out, and the next succession is popping up, with the next 2 on their stages of growth too.  The pumpkins are finally turning orange, and the romas finally starting turning red.  There's been a lot going on lately, and it seems like more is still on the way.  Actually, the onions are finally swelling and finishing up too.  It's as if the plants started to sense what time of the year it was and got to work.

I really enjoy harvesting.  We're picking so much things that are all of different colors.  You've got the green of dark green of zucchini, the flashy orange cherry tomatoes, the bright red strawberries, the blue-ish/green broccoli florets, and the red/purple-ish cabbage.  It's all so beautiful.  So with so much food, we spend Sunday canning.  We pickled a bunch of cucumbers, and then also beets that a friend had given us.  And on top of all the amazing vegetables and fruit we're getting, it's huckleberry time!  I had my first huckleberry during the beginning of my time - just frozen ones from last year, but now we've been enjoying them fresh.  They're a bit smaller than blueberries, bigger if you're lucky, and a very length task at picking them.  So far we've got up the mountain twice and got about 3 or 4 gallons each time.  Tomorrow is another adventure up the mountain to pick more.  We ran into other people who were picking as well.  People love their huckleberries...they might even get frugal with sharing!  Yesterday we also had zucchini blossoms.  I took the male flowers off the plant (male so we're not sacrificing any zucchini) and then we breaded and fried them.  They were pretty good, but since it's just a flower, there was a pretty strong oil flavor...

Last night was my last time going to yoga class :(  It's been such a great time though.  I really enjoyed Tuesdays night with Sara, when we went to yoga and then to her friend's house for wine and snacks.  It was always very relaxing and fun.  I've also been getting some more writing done, so that's been good.  The book is going a bit of a different direction right now, but I'm enjoying the ride. I wish that I could slow down time, because it's almost over.  I can't even believe that when I say it.  It's flown by so fast...

Enjoy some new photos from the past week...

My hammock in between two apple trees.  Always a good spot for a nap.

The chickens and the rooster.

An oriental salad we made from the gigantic Napa Cabbage with cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and we threw in mandarin oranges.

The mixed beets that we got from the neighbor, which we pickled.

The mixture for the pickling beets.

Hobbes trying to steal my zip up.  

Tomatoes! What a beautiful array of shades of red.

More tomatoes, with some of the first romas.

Some zucchini, cucumbers, and figs.

Baby carrots that we planted for the fall

Baby beet..soo wonderfully colorful.

Bush beans that somehow still survived while the majority died and got pulled out.  We'll see what becomes of them.

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”  
- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From Start to End

Yesterday, I picked the last of the green beans and tore them out after.  It was a really cool project for me, because these same beans are one that I got to plant from seed, in the beginning of my time here.  It was beautiful to be able to see it from start to finish...growth to decay.  Every week it would get a little bigger.  Then, all of a sudden, the beans were there.  It almost seems magical how a seed can turn into such a glorious and bountiful plant.  

When you plant seeds, you really feel responsible for it.  You want it to grow strong and be all that it can be. Some of the gophers liked these beans, and it was hard to see all our hard work be eaten at, which was almost out of our control.  We try a lot to discourage and push away the gophers, but they are persistent creatures.  Then again, so are we.  

My gardening experience has really connected me to nature.  We have a tendency to act like we're above, and so much different than plants and animals - but in a way we're not.  We're just a different species and are able to pick and choose other plants and animals to use and abuse.  Plants try to control their lives too.  Some of the weeds try to mimic the surrounding plants in order to survive.  Isn't that what a lot of people do in life?  Other plants produce wonderful colors, or flowers to entice the bees to pay attention to them.  Don't people do certain things to draw attention at themselves, especially to advance beyond others?  We may not be a plant or an animal, but we share a lot in common with nature.  This world was not created for the benefit of only humans.  In fact, maybe Mother Earth isn't made to benefit any one species over another.  Maybe she has no plan, but instead balances life among all species.

We're at a point in life where a lot of nature and the environment is used, abused, and thrown away.  It's coming back though.  Soon, the water won't be drinkable, and the land will be contaminated with nuclear waste, and so on.  

You get what you give.  And Nature isn't going to just let the abuse go without consequences; without karma.  You get back what you give.  And I'd like to give as much as I can, because I'd like to see not only my generation receive a beautiful bounty, but the families to come too.

P.S. Tried the corn yesterday..soo yummy :)
Love, Meg

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Eating the Sun

Another successful weekend watching the house and garden.  A few of the days were just so hot, it seemed like the plants were just sucking up all the water.  Tonight for dinner, we had burritos.  I went out to the garden to shut off the waters, and got some romaine lettuce for dinner.  As I was walking back, I just thought about what I was really holding in my hand?  This green, crisp, thing...that I just cut from the ground.  Where did it come from?  Where does all our food come from?  In a way, what we all are eating is energy from the sun.  But we can't consume it that way, so we let plants do that work for us.  It's amazing to me.  What would we do without plants?  And all these plants start from a tiny, little seed.  And they don't take much from the Earth either.  Think about plants a bunch of seeds in your garden, and feed them with water, and good soil.  In time, they will produce a bounty of delicious food for us to eat.  Think about one seed...while one seed translates into one carrot; one tomato seed turns into a plant that offers much more than one.  

Plants are beautiful, and I try not to take them for granted, because, well we''re connected to them; we need them.  Here are some pictures of what amazing plants are blooming right now...

It's beautiful how most things start green....and here it's finally getting its red color.

Yum :)

I think this world is amazing.  I'm happy not fully understanding, or not knowing why things are the way they are, but I am definitely in love with it all.  How do you look at our world and what all it offers, and what we turn it into, and not be amazing and in love?  I'm head over heels for it all.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy S'more Day!

Today is National S'more Day!  I got an e-mail (who knows how) with that news this morning.  Check it out!  You can learn the history to it.

Anyway, I'm in charge of the garden for the weekend again.  Yesterday, during the afternoon, I thought I'd go for a little run in between turning waters on.  So I decided to take a try down this road (Flat Creek) because I thought it would be flat and a different route.  In my head, I was weary of cougars for some reason.  Maybe the neighbor calling and saying there's been more siting of them.  As I'm running down this new road, I jump as a lizard scurries into the bushes.  I told myself, it's just a lizard, not a cougar...don't worry.  Not even a minute later, a dog appears trotting my direction..then he speeds up...crosses the streets right towards me.  I honestly thought I was about to be in a horrific fight with a dog; it was a bit terrifying for a few seconds.  It happened so fast I don't remember what I was screaming, maybe help? because I'd seen 2 men right before, but the dog was barking and growling at my feet.  I tried to put my hands at my ankles to protect my body and maybe hold him back from biting me.  Thankfully its owner got the dog to come back.  They were really sweet and apologized and said he's very protective.  Not many runners around here, so I'm sure the dog was a bit weary of this person running near their house.  I went over and pet the dog then to let it know I was no threat in case... I run that road again.....yeahhhhh, right :)

I'm reading a book called Second Nature by Michael Pollan right now.  I'm reading about the history of Americans lawns and how many Americans view nature and culture as two separate things.  But the garden is a place where we can create a connection and some balance between the two.  As he writes about his new experiences with woodchucks, I think about the gophers...the gophers.  They have been making lots of tunnels under the beds and eating the veggies.  At least it's a sign that they're good!  But anyway, our new possible tactic is placing golf balls in the beds.  Hopefully the gopher will try to go for it, and realize it's not food..and maybee leave and go somewhere else, thinking the food is gone.  We can only hope.

I've got some garden work to do today...transplanting and weeding, and raking more leaves to the chickens. I'm working alone, but thankfully I've got Hobbes to protect me.  Maybe he'll even do his little butt dance ...