First Tomato

This is either of the Early Red variety or Caro Rich. I forgot to label them after transplanting the seedlings into the garden. I won't make that mistake again.


German Chamomile and Death

Three things:
1. I am not a big fan of flower photography, but I am guilty of doing it sometimes because I photograph my garden a lot and my garden has flowers. Forgive me.

2. German Chamomile is very rewarding to grow. If you like to drink chamomile tea, that is. For the past two months I have harvested 20-30 flowers every few days. Until this week, the plant kept growing new flowers. A great system.

3. You may be able to see a very young grasshopper in this photo. The reality of growing your own food and herbs is that you must kill sometimes in order to harvest what you grow. It is a harsh reality; but no less real.


Kid With Compost Fork

Nusia in front of the Japanese eggplant and German chamomile; our Axis garden.

Food Garden

For anyone who hasn't been following this story, Nusia and I have been working on a vegetable garden in our backyard for the past year. It's humble but ambitious. We grow a variety of different vegetables and lots of herbs, too. We've had plenty of dramatic failures, but they've made the minor successes that much sweeter. One of the best things about being new to this vegetable gardening thing is experiencing the recognition of a familiar food item—sweet pepper in this instance—that I've seen countless times in markets and refrigerators and on tables, but never as it grows on a plant. It's a simple thing, but quite powerful. The closeup image here shows the first recognizable pepper of six plants we're currently growing from seed (Purple Beauty is the type). Whether or not we'll see these all the way through to harvest time is still a large question mark, but we're enjoying them in a way right now.


It's Hot in L.A.

This is an old image, but I find it refreshing. I hope you do, too.

Lighting My Social Imagination

This has absolutely nothing to do with the mainstay of this here blog: pictures with short captions. I like to post personal photos—snapshots—here that may not have any other home. But I heard the quote below on a podcast of Bill Moyers Journal and it seemed to put the matter in a light I hadn't previously seen. Photography is all about lighting to reveal, too, so it's sort of germane. Sort of.
"What consumer culture does is to privatize people. They see in acquisition of material goods a kind of self-liberation... To the degree that consumer culture captures your imagination you lose a social imagination; you no longer see yourself as part of a social collective."
-Steve Fraser
I'm pretty certain I like to see myself as part of a social collective. I also covet everything in the latest Patagonia catalog. This is the quandary.


Husker Du?

LA River Ride

For the past eight years the LA County Bicycle Coalition has been organizing the LA River Ride as the organization's primary annual fundraising event, which also works to familiarize cycling Angelenos with the river around which our city was built. It's a great event for beginning to advanced riders (this year featured the ride's first-ever century option), and family friendly, too, with a handful of ride-length options.
I took photos for the LACBC during the ride's first two years, and helped edit the newsletter back then, too. I'd been less involved in recent years, but this year my friend Erik presented me with the opportunity to go out the day before the ride and help mark the route. Excluding an unfortunate misunderstanding with a couple of the Vernon PD's overly zealous officers, it was a great day preriding the course, and I hope to bring my daughter to participate in the River Ride next year.
This image was taken at the Slauson bridge, where the river leaves Vernon—always a good thing—and enters Maywood.


Sunflower Fixated

at the moment. We have eight in various stages; waiting for ripe seeds on one and a new bloom on another.


Russian Mammoths

I agree that photos of flowers are a lot less interesting than flowers, but these photos are here to tell a story. The story is of Russian Mammoth seeds purchased from Seeds of Change with the promise of 9- to 12-foot tall stalks with flowers up to 14 inches across. A friend just sent us a photo of us planting the seedlings in the ground just a few months ago. Well, the tallest so far is up about 9 feet. Next summer we'll make sure to stake them a little better, as they seem to lean toward the sun and just lean in general when they hit the higher elevations. Of all the plants we've started from seed in our garden this year, this is perhaps the most satisfying because its rapid growth is so fun to follow. The slow blooming of the flowers is pretty grand, too.
Also, we choose this variety so that we'll be able to collect, dry and eat the large seeds. Will post on that soon.