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It only happens once a year, in the Spring and only for a very short time. Spring tonics are the magic elixir Mother Nature puts out there to get the life forces moving.

Spring tonics were what I was going talk about but because of recent events in Japan and the devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, http://tinyurl.com/4vpsefn and now the threat of a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant  http://tinyurl.com/6cwtzrg I have decided to talk about something I think is more important.

I am in California, 19.5 miles from Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant and on the wrong side of the San Andres fault. Recent events are very close to home.

CNN just reported another explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Second day the Japanese stock market plummeted.

It has been four days since the earthquake and tsunami hit. There are constant after shocks measuring between 5 and 6. Many areas are isolated and roads impassable. Only 1/2 of the emergency crews have been activated. There is no food left in the stores. There is no way to deliver food.  No one to drive the trucks. No roads to drive on. No one to run the stores. Crops were destroyed. Gas stations can not pump gas. There is no food, water, shelter, energy. This is an unimaginable situation. You can’t imagine it happening here or to you.  Few do but still it happens.

Electricity to Tokyo, about 250 miles away, has been affected because of the shut down of the power plants.  This affects transportation and delivery of goods across Japan.  Some subway station are closed so people can not get to work or make their connections. Rolling black outs are being proposed and another quake predicted for Thursday. Energy or the lack of it effects everything. NEC, Mitsubishi, Sony, suspending operations to save energy. The stock market nose-dived, below 10,000, down 633 points stocks affected insurance, oil, coal,  automakers./ Topix down 68.5

The men, woman and children that made it to a shelter have blankets and they are grateful for that. The weather forecast is temperature in the 30’s and a large snowstorm is due on Wednesday. The shelters are not equipped with food, water, toilet paper, diapers, tampax, toothpaste, band aids, heat, coffee, tea, lights or any of the things we all take for granted every day. People are in shock. Separated from their families not knowing if they are dead or alive, injured. There is no way to communication. ATM’s don’ t work. Anything that needs to be pumped like water and gas has no electricity to run the pumps.  Cell phones don’t work, batteries are dead and there is no electricity to recharge them.

Water line in SundaiThis is a line for water in Sendai

This is a very desperate situation. These people had no warning.  They could not prepare for this. Life changed in an instant and it will never be the same. It is damn bleak. And it could happen here. The ring of fire is real. We are on the Pacific Plate. It is on the move.

This is a warning to us. This is a wake up call. This is as close to the hand of God reaching down and tapping you on the shoulder and saying ” Hey you’re next so be prepared.”

I am going to give you two links to get yourselves started. One is the American Red Cross earthquake to do list. You can buy a kit ready-made or you can put one together yourself.  There are things on this list you would never think of doing yourself. Read and Do it. Now. http://tinyurl.com/l4cjg5.

The second one is an earthquake watch video. This is very matter of fact. It is based on scientific calculations and things we have learned about earthquakes and what to look for. March 14-19 is of particular importance because of some very unique planetary alignments.

If this does not get you attention then I do not know what will. Just understand this. In an emergency there is not going to be anyone to help you. You are on your own. So be prepared. Gas up that car and get a telephone number of someone outside of the State that you can call. Phone lines within the State of the disaster are going to be jammed. Calling out is easier. Leave a message of your status and where you are.  The contact person can pass that information on to everyone that checks in. It is going to be the only way to communicate.

I got a Red Cross radio that runs on solar, batteries, adapter and crank for $50. It also charges cell phones. Do you have a good escape plan? Know what roads to take and what direction to go in in case of  Earthquake, floods, tsunami, emergency shelter? All different.  We may not have any warning either. Who knows. But if all we have is 10, 15 minutes to get to safety, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to grab a bag with a toothbrush, water, toilet paper and beef jerky in it rather than not?  Do yourself a favor people and just do it. And put some seaweed in there too it is loaded with iodine.

I don’ t want to be an alarmist here folks but this is no Y2K. This is something quite different. Facts are: 9.0 earthquake is a biggie and we have had 4 of them since 1952. It did knock the earth 6.5 inches off its axis. Our electromagnetic field is the lowest it has been since the last earth changing events occurred. Things are happening. Pay attention.

It is going to take time to get stuff organized. Don’t wait. And don’t be Stupid like this guy and ask

God’s Help!

There once was a flood and everyone had reached safety except for one man.

He climbed to the top of his house with the water lapping at his feet.

A helicopter flew over his head and hung down a rope for him to climb, but the man was deeply religious and said, “It’s alright! The Lord will save me!”

So the helicopter flew away. The water continued to rise and a boat came to him but, once again, the man shouted, “No! Go AWAY! the Lord will come and save me!” and, once again, the boat sped off.

The water was getting dangerously deep by now so the helicopter came back and, on cue, the man repeated, “I don’t need saving! My Lord will come”

Reluctantly, the helicopter left.

The rain continued to pour, the water continued to rise and the man drowned.

At the gates of heaven, the man met St. Peter. Confused, he asked, “Peter, I have lived the life of a faithful man – why did my Lord not rescue me?”

St. Peter replied, “For pity sake! He sent you two helicopters and a boat!”

Author Unknown

I look forward to writing the next blog on Spring tonics and Wildcrafting #5.

I love you dear readers now get busy and be safe please.


 

 

 

 

 

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Getting the yard and the house set up with Christmas lights is a great time to think about winterizing the garden. You can put a string of Christmas lights around sensitive plants like the aloes and citrus.  When there is a frost warning I take a cotton sheet (with a Hawaiian print) and cover the plants.  The little bit of heat from the lights and the cotton cover creates a nice, cozy environment for the tender ones. Sometimes I have my Christmas lights up through January  because it is a long cold winter but I can live with that.  No plastic covering on plants.  Plastic conducts cold.

I re-potted my black bamboo and other plants that go dormant. This is what my potted bamboo looked like. Yikes.

I had to take a hammer to the roots to separate them.  It was nasty.  I should have done this 3 years ago.  But I got about 25 new black bamboo plants.  They are sitting in dirt in a plastic bag for the time being. I need more pots and dirt. Repotting is good to do also before a nice rain to give the roots a reassuring boost and encourage them to set up housekeeping in their new home.  I gave them all a hot toddy (a drink of worm tea) in case they were experiencing post uprooting shock.  This was not a fertilizing treatment.  It is never good to fertilizer in the winter. It encourages growth and they are putting out shoots in the dead of winter. Ouch.  So, no fertilizing just yet. If you are having a dry fall and winter make sure and check your watering schedule. If the roots of any plant or tree dries out it will die.  Pay close attention to potted plants.  North winds are particularly brutal, they seem to suck every ounce of moisture out of the air.  So, check your plants after a windy day.

www.victorylandscaping.com/

Grrrrrr

Weed. And put the weeds in a bag not on the compost pile or come spring you will have a weed pile for a compost pile. Everything else that will not reseed itself put on the compost pile. I did a major cut back on deciduous plants like the pear, apple, roses, jasmine, honeysuckle, wisteria, purple basil, and ginger. I learned from the California Rare Fruit Growers just recently that the best time to cut back fruit trees is in the summer. Less chance of diseases setting in and wintering over.  Just have to be careful that you do not cut back next years fruit bearing branches.  Will do a section on pruning which is a whole thing into itself.

Munching is always good especially when it starts to get cold. It protects the roots and discourages weed seeds from germinating by blocking out the light when the ground starts to warm up in the spring. Try to put at least 2″ of mulch in the garden and move it away from the tree trunks and stems of plants. You don’t want anything that is going to harbor constant wet and moist conditions touching your trunk and stems. That kind of environment just invites the nasties like mold, fungus and diseases. www.bgky.org/tree/mulch.php

If you have bare spots in your yard  where flowers once grew plant a winter garden. So easy to throw some lettuce seeds, carrots, spinach maybe a radish or two in that spot. Plant continuously every two weeks  so you never run out.  Also check with your local nurseries for winter garden plants.  They will carry starts of whatever grows well in your area and time of year.  Fresh greens in the winter is a real treat.  My parsley is re-seeding itself and has taken over the pot. The purple basil which is a perennial is still blooming and no matter how much I cut it back it just keeps growing.  I also took all the pieces I cut off and stuck them in a pot and now they are all growing.  We have a lot of great fixings for spaghetti.

www.flickr.com/photos/ian-s/2817994346/

Which reminds me. This is a great time to plant bulbs like garlic. Put your garlic in a perennial garden or permanent pot somewhere in the sun.  If you don’t harvest it all the first year it just keeps growing and multiplying. It also likes parsley and you can put it anywhere in your garden as a bug deterrent. Just make sure it has good drainage.  You can buy any organic garlic and it will grow. Break a clove off a bulb and plant the fat side down and leave a little of the tip showing and that is all there is to it.  Mother Nature does the rest.

If you have empty pots around make sure and turn them over so they will not collect water.  Mosquitos love to lay their eggs in standing water.

Don’t forget the birds. Take the hummingbird feeder down when the temperature starts to get cold at night.  Most hummingbirds are migratory.  They need to get out-of-town and winter in warm places and the feeder keeps them around perhaps a little longer than they should stay.  Check your local area for birds that home and feed accordingly.

This is the first year I am hosting a couple of worm bins. I know they don’t like it too cold either so will cover them up when there is frost in the air. They are going to stay outdoors and  I am looking forward to the worm tea I will get from the rain water.

Get all your tools out of the weather and clean them off good.  A shot of WD 40 will keep them from rusting.

O.K. Kids that about wraps it up for now.  Got any questions or suggestions feel free and chime right in.

Staying warm

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CalpopsGarzasWash08www.montereybaycnps.org/

Let’s do it.    Get rid of the grass, at least most of it and plant fire resistant, drought tolerant, disease and bug resistant, sexy, wild,  natives.  Native fire resistant plants are a real asset to your yard anywhere in California. Did you know that a watered apple tree or Indian Hawthorne burns better than an unwatered Ceanothus, and with just a little water Salvias (Sages) are harder to light than a watered fruit tree?  Easy fixes for high risk fire areas.  Here is a picture of a garden landscaped with fire retardant plants.garden-tour-2

Plant natives grapes which are fire resistant make a beautiful arbor or barrier and you can eat the grapes.  fire_562s

Plant natives to attract bird, butterfly and hummingbirds.  Milkweed is the only plant the monarch uses and it also attracts swallowtails.  butterflyweedThe natives  are very low maintenance. They can be very showy and spectacular like our California Lilac,  Ceanothus, left, Ceanothus_L.T.Blueor low and inconspicuous like Pacific Mist Arctostaphylos, right.images Pacific Mist loves coastal sandy gardens where it grows one foot high and 6-8 feet across. Then there are the fragrant varieties for your smelly garden. California Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii) center.

a494-1

And so many sages.  This one is called Hot lips and hummingbirds love it. large_salvia

Natives have everything you need for a carefree spectacular garden.   Save money on water, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, save time, mowing, weeding, hedging, spraying, and the energy savings in hard labor are all good reasons to Go Native.

By planting natives and getting them established, which does take a little time in the beginning, you can just let them do what comes naturally and leave all the work to them.  There are perennials which come back every year, annuals that reseed themselves, hardwoods, softwoods, bushes and trees for the layered effect.   There are many varied reports on  deer resistant natives.  You will have to check with your local extension or neighbors on what works best in your area.  I think the general consensus is they love roses and if they are hunger they will eat anything.  So, this one is up to you.

Check out the gardens below.

nativeplantswww.thedigeratilife.com/…/

p_ng_mass_bl2www.cnps-yerbabuena.org/…/local_gardens.html

gardenwphttp://tinyurl.com/ctx8l4

This is a very good site.  Full of fun facts and information.  It is hosted by Randy White.  The site below, Food not lawns, is just a little off subject. I just thought I would put it in here to give you something to think about.  It is well worth a look see.  You can’t help but learn something.

flores_food_not_lawns_1

http://www.foodnotlawns.net/

I have taken you on quite a tour and it is just the tip of the iceberg.   If you just want to get started a good place to start learning about  natives is at  the California Native plant society the local chapter here is  http://www.cnps-slo.org/  They have field trips to local areas and a great list of nurseries that carry native plants.   One nursery on the list is Las Pilitas http://www.laspilitas.com/  It has an online Landscape and  design plan.  You just answer some questions about your planting area and it will tell you what plants to plant and where. Also, a must read on fire prevention.

And now that you are thinking about Going Native you can also start thinking about what you are going to do with all the extra time and money you will have after planting a native garden.  The time you save you could spend oh, I don’t know, sleeping, surfing.  Kowabunga  Dude.  Have Fun.

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