Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Fever, a cold and a quiet kitchen

Monday morning, I woke up feeling "off". My throat was feeling a little sore and I felt physically drained. By the end of the work day, I was in bed within 30 minutes of getting home. All I wanted to eat was a bowl of Cream of Wheat, with cinnamon sugar. My husband, "Mr. Fix-It" can't cook (he says that it stresses him too much). But, he was able to follow the directions. I could hear my boys foraging in the kitchen for their dinner, because I was down for the count.

I work at a public high school, so I'm working in a petri dish. Who knows which student passed on their cooties, when they hand me their cellphone and want me to talk to their parent-- giving their student permission to go home "sick". It's a miracle that my immune system has kept me from having in a cold for so many years.

By Tuesday morning, things were getting worse. My voice began to sound raspy, like "Demi Moore". I could not muster enough energy to cook. My appetite was gone and hubby was going down, very sick, along with me. Husband stayed home on Wednesday, and I went to work. My immune system surrendered by late afternoon. I went to the local Doc 'N The Box and got a shot in my booty, some antibiotics and Won-Ton soup, with vegetables, from a local Chinese Restaurant. I could not eat solids, because my throat was on fire.

I'm home, today. The cold got me! A part of me really wants to make something tasty to eat. But my body has no energy.

It's a beautiful Spring day, today. So, I've decided to post a few pictures of my backyard. This weekend, my husband planted tomato plants and some kitchen herbs for me. He might not be a cook, but he's got a green thumb. I give him credit for my herb garden-- such that it is. Our tomatoes have to be grown in containers-- we learned the hard way.

I have to admire my husband's recycling of cat litter containers. It works!

A friend made my redwood herb cart. I can sheel it around and water it, with ease.

I'm standing on our back patio and looking up to our hilly yard. This is the perfect place to grow a garden-- or so we first thought. My hubby set up a drip irrigation system and planted 24 gorgeous tomatoes plans, one year. That's when every gopher and mole in the Salinas Valley swooped in, and stole our plants. Arrrrrrrrrrgh!

So, standing on top of the hill, you can see our 1100 sq.ft. house, and our container gardens.

It's so pretty up here. There are no neighbors behind us-- total privacy. One day, if we can finally afford to buy this house (we're renting it from a generous family member) we hope to add a hot tub.
At the top of the backyard is a spectacular view of the Salinas Valley (this photo doesn't do justice to our view). This is an agricultural area that grows lettuce, strawberries and other crops, under the labels of Fresh Express, Driscoll Berries. This area is called "Steinbeck Country", for those of you who are fans of John Steinbeck's books.

To the right, is a view of the "McMansions" that were selling at $1.3 million (and up), during the real estate craze-- and have now plummeted to about $750,00. C'mon down! Unemployment, in Salinas, is at a whopping 22%, though.

Here is why we no longer try to garden up on our hill. The battle of the gophers became more than my husband wanted to deal with. He tried horse manure, animal urine, smoke bombs, destroying the underground runs...and, finally, traps-- all to no avail. The dirt is very "clay" and not hospitable to gardening, as is. If we get to buy this house, then maybe we'll invest in raised garden beds.

The Olallieberrie bush is the only thing that the gophers don't seem to gnaw on. Yes, they are blooming! These berries are sweet and tart and make delicious pies-- around May/June.

I had to pick up my antibiotics, so I decided to stop (on the way home) to shoot some photos of the Salinas Valley-- it was such a beautiful day. Jump in with me!

This is the Spreckels exit. A local artist paints these wonderful larger-than-life paintings for lots of the local businesses. This is "The Farm", where I buy fresh, organic vegetables for great prices. Straight ahead is Monterey (see the coastal fog?). I love living in the sunbelt! I can't wait for "The Farm" to reopen, soon!

I love this boulevard-- that leads to the Historic town of Spreckels, California (yes, as in sugar).

I love the early morning mist at this time of the morning. This view is looking towards our subdivision, where we live. These crops will, most likely, end up all over the United States-- at your own grocery store.

My horse and I have logged many miles in these hills. This is cattle country and a state park, too.

This is it! The historical town of Spreckels. Don't might miss it. This is my "secret" post office. No lines, no waiting...old style wooden P.O. Boxes. Everybody knows everyone.
The large building is a grocery store. I've been in it, twice. It's...dated. I think the Jello boxes date back decades. Spooky. The woman who owns it doesn't smile. She scares me!

This area sure is purty. There are so many other photos I shot, that I'll upload (as soon as I figure out how to do a slide show).

Home again-- signs of spring, in my front yard:

Our state flower-- California Poppy

Our rosemary bush, blooming (and the buzzing of bees)

Lupines. These look like purple carpets in a few more weeks.

My rose bushes are budding!

The wisteria vines are budding, too!

I'm on the road to recovery. I think that my antiobiotics are kicking in. Just enjoying some California sunshine has helped me feel better. Hubby just left for the doctor. He wants "the works", just like I got.

Maybe I'll find the energy to cook tonight. It's been three days of no time in the kitchen-- except for the microwave. My son says that locally grown asparagus are on sale for .99 cents a pound.

Whoo-hoo! I love Spring!

Achoo. Sniff.

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Culinary Wannabe said...

Aww Debby, I'm so sorry you aren't feeling well! We are sick too. :( Your photos are amazing though. I can't believe what you get to see when you step outside. Beautiful!!! I look outside and see cars and trash - wahoo! When wall street comes to their senses and decides to relocate to a more wonderful climate I will be right there with you! Feel better soon - get lots of sleep and liquids! :)

A Feast for the Eyes said...

So sorry you are feelin' ill, too. Regarding differences in our views-- while New York intrigues me.. shopping, restaurans, theater... I don't think I could survive there. I have never lived in snow, and I'm a country girl, at heart. Believe me, I say prayers of thanks every day when I come home. I feel richly blessed to live in this area.


Lissaloo said...

I hope you get feeling better quickly :) The pictures look so warm and green, I'm totally jealous. We got a couple inches of snow yesterday and I'm feezing!

Donna-FFW said...

Debby- I hope you feel better real soon, wish I was close to bring you some soup and a hug! Your pictures are beyond beautiful, I so enjy photos ofother areas. Thank you for sharing!

Stacey Snacks said...

Thanks for sharing the nice yard and view.
I love that you already have your tomato plants ready to go!
I just bought my herbs for my garden and am excited to use them in recipes this summer.
Feel better!

Monica H said...

I hope you get better soon, but even if you don't cook another thing, I will enjoy more photos of your neighborhood!

Love all the photos! I bet your husband has fun mowing your backyard, no?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Hope you are on the mend! The photos of the countryside are really gorgeous!

Elyse said...

What spectacular photos. The sky is such a brilliant blue, and you have such a magnificent view (see, your pics are making me poetic, and I'm not even trying!). I'm so glad you shared these with us!

Phoo-D said...

Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing them! One trick (the only one) that I've found works to banish gophers is to place a dead rodent (mice, gophers, rats, etc.) down inside the gopher tunnels. They can smell the dead rodent and don't come into the area. Kind of nasty, but worked well for us!