Monday, July 15, 2013

Summertime, Summertime, Summ . . . Summ . . . Summertime

What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. You keep your eyes open, you see this damned-to-hell world you got born into, and you ask yourself, 'What life can I live that will let me breathe in & out and love somebody or something and not run off screaming into the woods?
Barbara Kingsolver 

MuRefuge in the height of Summer is the focus of "life" that keeps me from running "off screaming into the woods."  She is offering a plethora of vegetables, fruit and berries, and medicinal and culinary herbs as well as native flowers for a very satisfying experience for all BEings venturing onto her three quarter acre.  After several seasons of relentless clearing out of nonnative plants, bushes even trees:   
Naked Ladies and Red Pokers, both originating in Africa
'Majorica' Rosemary and Italian Stone Pine from the Mediterannia region
Day Lilly plants originating from China
not to be excluded - Smoke bush, pineapple quava and strawberry tree,
there is now ample room for human food as well as for the domesticated and wild ones that visit or call MuRefuge home.

The septic mound that is maybe half of the duck's area is evolving with June Grass and Northern California poppies on the South end of the mound, many kinds of lavender amidst Idaho Fescue and white yarrow in the middle, 

Stinging Nettles 

along side Purple Needlegrass, and more Northern California poppies interspersed with Matillija Poppies and several kinds of California Wild Lilacs (ceanothus) on the Northern end.  Jax, our resident cat, loves sleeping beneath the lavender or ceanothus.  The ducks often nest in breeding season beneath the lavender bushes as well.  Peach trees grow in the "run off" area on the Southeast side of the mound which is MuRefuge's  very warmest spot.
Soon to have ripe peaches to eat right off the tree

  Black Satin thornless blackberries thrive along the gravel road fence.  

In the Northwest area of the duck yard heirloom apple trees and red raspberries provide food for humans and a spot for the ducks to nestle into the shade on a sunny afternoon.
Pink Pearl Apple tree in the foreground with tansy,
chives and chamomile growing beneath.

Red raspberry plants that were cut back in very early Spring since the Winter frost killed the canes from last season

Companion planting brings health and well being especially to the plants in the vegetable garden.  Since most vegetables are planted in raised beds, there is limited space for "crop rotation" so planting plants together that benefit one another is a way to decrease predatory insects and diseases. 
Just to the right of the vegetable garden gate is this raised bed filled
with TriStar strawberries, Walla Walla onions and Wild Garden lettuce mix.
Foreground lemon cucumbers with carrots just germinating behind them
then Merlot lettuce with carrots, tomatillos and cilantro going to
seed for later planting.  The cattle panels on either side of the bed
are for the Fortex fillet beans that are about 6" inches tall
growing in the holes of the basalt blocks comprising the edge of the bed.

In the foreground is the raised bed with three different kinds of basil and pimento pepper plants.

Asparagus, tomatoes, Day of the Dead Marigolds and 'Gigante' Italian flat leaf parsley
enjoy growing together in a tangle of this basalt raised bed.
Then the front yard is evolving into a delightful coastal prairie which the butterflies find enticing with all the available nectar.

Beach asters, Coast buckwheat and Coyote mint form a synergistic community.
In the background are manzanita, next Idaho fescue to the right of
the path and native iris on the left.
Bee's Bliss in the left and middle of this picture, Idaho fescue on the left closer
and along the path Red buckwheat and Beach asters.
As an experiment along the front of the house, below North facing windows in my room, Bluff angelica was planted.

The flowers are frequented by many wingeds since the area is protected from the wind.

Enough Douglas fir trees were planted a few years ago to be cut for Christmas trees.  One remains after the last one was cut this past December holiday season.

The remaining Douglas fir tree is behind Give Peace a Hand sculputure.
California asters and Coastal milkweek are in bloom in the foreground.
The culinary herbs grow in an herbal spiral just off the back patio for easy access for food preparation.  This time of the year my very favorite herb in bloom is Wild Marjoram.

When starts are first moved out of the greenhouse, these Roger Red grape vines provide coolness and shade.
The epiphyles hang in the shade during the Summer
then move into the greenhouse for the Winter.
The gorgeous blooms are enjoyed from our bedroom window.

This is a smattering of views of MuRefuge for those requesting pictures.  I invite each of you to leave a comment as you 


  1. Hi Cathie-one of your best blogs for those who love seeing and hearing about the self sustaining harvest the earth provides. Photos are terrific too!

    Rains have started here-lots of humidity.


  2. Cathie

    Everything is so vibrant. I know there is tremendous work involved for all the plants and trees to look so well. Can I live in the duck house?

    The garden here looks pretty sad. Too much rain and not enough sun. The tomato plants are dying. The potatoes all rotted in the ground. So too much water is as bad as not having enough water.

    Your place looks so wonderful. And you work very hard to keep it this way.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Much love

  3. AWESOME!!! Thank you so much for sharing. Sis, Jackie, also enjoyed this very much!

    xoxox Vickie

  4. Lovely photos of Mu Refuge on your blog too! My garden box experiment didn't work out very well so far--it's been so amazingly clear and warm here that all the normal crops are bolting or withering with our 16 hours of daylight. I have some seriously floppy lettuce as does everyone else--withering raspberries, etc. Looks like the cukes might do well though! But can't complain otherwise about this gorgeous summer. We've been able to take great walks every night and see the mountains across the Sound all the time. Love,Leigh