I’m so glad I got the garden planted when I did in November. December was unseasonably cold for Southern California, and wet. I made an heroic effort on November 30th, remembering the six months without rain, to capture rainwater during the first downpour since April.

Gutter with Rain

Gutter with Rain

I ripped one gutter down pipe away from the house, and filled a 60 gallon L.A. city trash barrel, as well as all the plastic tubs from which I had just removed the Christmas decorations, and they all filled up within an hour. The problem was, it kept raining in December, so I didn’t need the water for three weeks! Christmas came and went and the decorations had to go back into the tubs, so I had to pour out half the saved water.

The weather, and the fact that there wasn’t much to do in the garden, kept me inside preparing for the holidays.

Off to the Rose Bowl

Stanford Sigma Chi and Friends

Since Stanford played the Rose Bowl, my son, Walker, invited his Sigma Chi brothers to stay at our house. They flew and drove in from all over. Our house is modest and there’s no guest room. Over four nights, we had 8, 12, 7 and 1 houseguest/s sleeping on various air mattresses and pallets on the floor. Here are most of the students off to the Rose Bowl, after a late New Year’s Eve celebration. You might have heard that Stanford won!

New Year’s Day night, while about 7 students were settling in, I dropped over to say “Happy New Year” to my neighbor, Zdena. She had just fallen on the dark steps at a friend’s house, and returned home and bandaged up her bloody, bruised leg. She was icing when I got there. I visited for a half hour and insisted she not see me out (she always does and turns the back step light on). Ironic, that, I went out in the dark and missed the bottom step, and fell and sprained my ankle! All that hoeing and digging and straining in the garden all year, and no injuries to speak of. I also lost the earpiece to my glasses, which I have searched for and not found. What an end to a celebratory holiday!

So, the ankle has kept me out of the garden except for short bits. It’s much better now, and I managed to get to an art opening in Culver City on Saturday (Donald Martiny at George Lawson Gallery, terrific!) after an all-afternoon inspiring, energizing and empowering meet-up with fellow Young Living distributors at a friend’s in Topanga Canyon. In addition to all that I am doing with acting and Late Bloomer and my garden, I am a distributor of the finest medicinal grade essential oils on the planet, Young Living. (more on that later)

So, it’s been busy and I have exciting plans for 2013! Checking on my garden today, here is what I found: 5 Monarch caterpillars on one nearly-bare branch, munching the last bits.

Monarch Caterpillars Feeding

Five Monarch Caterpillars on One Milkweed Branch

My milkweed is all but gone, and I’m moving caterpillars around to feed on the little bit left. I’m hedging that they all make maturity before the last bite is consumed. I counted about 14 today. I moved one chrysalis into the house on a particularly windy night, as well as two caterpillars, both of which died trying to form their chrysalises. I have eight viable chrysalises outside.

I harvested a bowl of lemons today. It seems they all ripened at the same time. No lemons for a year, and now I have 25!

Meyer Lemons

Bowl of Meyer Lemons

I pulled out a handful of small carrots from the two barrels. I need about 10 barrels to keep this family in carrots!

Home-grown Carrots

Baby Finger Organic Carrots

I have one small row of radishes and they are all pretty much ready to be picked. I need to plant more!

Organic Radishes

Home-grown Organic Radishes

As I was photographing the carrots, the resident flock of wild parrots flew over my head and landed in my neighbor, Gini’s, tall evergreen tree (can anyone help me identify this tree?). There were between 50 and 70 bright green parrots with black beaks. They are the Nanday Conure Parrots, and they are very sociable and like to hang with their group.

Nanday Conure Parrots

Nanday Conure Parrot Flock in Evergreen Tree

Now, I’m off to the Palisades Garden Club meeting. They are having a wildlife biologist come and speak, who takes much better insect photos than I do! Thanks for reading! Hope your new year is off to a great start!  – Kaye