Please pardon the lack of posts lately… These last couple of months have been a hurricane of all-day and all-night writing sessions as I bang out my book manuscript and write, read, edit, repeat. Happy to say, I’m in the final stretch!
What little free time I do have, I’m selfishly spending on easy getaways to Vegas (where I just saw Jane’s Addiction play their entire Nothing’s Shocking album — an album I vividly remember from my high school days, cruising the Strip with “Jane Says” blaring in my car), much-needed midweek camping trips to Big Sur, mindless marathons of my favorite shows (HBO’s Silicon Valley is a new favorite!), and sleep… precious, precious sleep, for as long as I can before the day’s work begins.
Following a press trip for garden designer and TV personality P. Allen Smith’s Garden2Blog event in Little Rock, Arkansas, next week, I’ll finally be back to my regular routine on the blog. I can’t wait to share all the posts that have been bouncing around in my head lately, especially as I get back to my very neglected spring garden (luckily, the tomatoes that I transplanted back in March are thriving on their own!).
As I wrap up my manuscript, enjoy this glimpse into one of the most beautiful drives in the country, the Central California coastline — or, the five little things that made my week!
1. My Monday ended with this technicolor sunset in Big Sur. Not a bad way to start the week.
The five little things that made my week…
1. Harvested a very tenacious carrot this week. As you can tell by the leaves, it started growing outward along the surface for a while, then found its way deep into the soil, going deeper, deeper… the carrot ended up being over a foot long and I still haven’t found the end piece that broke off. We had to get out the shovel for this one!
It’s not even summer yet, but it sure feels like it. The current heatwave in Los Angeles has us sweltering in 90-plus degree heat, even out on the coast where it’s usually temperate.
And if you stepped inside a California supermarket right now, you’d think summer was in full swing. Our produce aisles are packed with an abundance of watermelons and peaches, not to mention pineapples, strawberries, ears of corn, and organic heirloom tomatoes. Some of it comes from south of our border, but a surprising lot is harvested from farms around Southern and Central California — possibly in part to our very warm winter this year.
On hot and humid afternoons like this, where I’m stuck inside working all day with no air conditioner (it’s just not very common for a 1930s-era coastal bungalow), I can’t resist picking up a hefty, juicy watermelon while I wait for the melons in our garden to get going. If I end up with a really big fella, I’ll usually make an agua fresca for the week.
Aguas frescas (quite literally, “fresh waters”) are a popular refreshment in Mexico and Latin America, and they’re as ubiquitous as soda is here. They usually consist of a fruit juice blended with sugar and water, but some (like horchata) also contain grains, seeds, and flowers. A quick run through the blender and you have a light, invigorating drink that beats a soda any day. While aguas frescas are perfect as-is, I’ve been known to sneak a shot of rum or tequila in mine for happy hour at the house!
One of my favorite combinations to make is a watermelon and lime agua fresca, and it’s as refreshing and energizing as it sounds. I can easily down the whole pitcher myself! And here’s a fun fact: This recipe was originally developed for my forthcoming cookbook, until I decided I wasn’t doing drinks in it (due to space constraints). So, the book’s loss is your gain. Drink up!
I grew a radish tree this season. A tree? you might ask, with an eyebrow raised skeptically. But when I show you the 5-foot beast that just kept growing and growing in my garden — started from seed last summer and then overwintered — you’ll realize that yes indeed, I grew a radish tree.
The five little things that made my week…
1. After nearly three years, the pineapple top I planted has finally sprouted a new pineapple!
Did you catch the total lunar eclipse last night? Coastal Los Angeles was lucky to have clear skies and out on the point where I live, with very little light pollution, the moon was as bright and bold as could be. I took these shots from my backyard just minutes after the total lunar eclipse (using an OM-D E-M5 with this telephoto lens).
Eerily called the “Blood Moon,” it was the first in the lunar tetrad (a series of four successive total lunar eclipses) that will occur between now and next year. And it’s kind of a big deal: The next lunar tetrad won’t happen again until 2032.
I’ll admit, it’s not easy to reimmerse in reality after a trip like El Salvador. Here it is, almost the weekend, and I still haven’t unpacked. I’ve been home a week, and all I could manage so far was laundry… because I was running out of underwear. What few things I did start to put away from my suitcase were dusted with the beautiful black sand from our beach, and that would send me off on a daydream about the waves, the food, and the people of that country.
While I sort through the pictures from my far-too-short seven days in El Salvador, here’s a peek from the trip.
1. The waves in front of our house… or out our backyard, depending on how you look at it. Just a hundred yards from my bedroom was this delicious right point break off a cobblestone rivermouth.