Gigantic Organic and Pesticide Free

Gigantic Organic and Pesticide Free

We opted to grill asparagus for tonight’s side dish so that this head of garden fresh Romanesco Broccoli will have one more day to grow genetically un-modified, and pesticide free.
Trying to convey to you with words what only functioning taste buds can convey is futile.
Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. PST.

~T.

Conservation Art and the Art of Conservation

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In response to California’s severe drought, we’ve been doing our part to conserve and reduce our daily amount of water use.  Despite recent days of rain and snow in the higher elevations, we are reminded to be mindful of our water consumption habits.  Conservation of resources has always been a standard operating procedure for me, so I’ve not had to drastically modify my habits. 

During our most recent rainstorm, I set out pots and containers and collected water for use in my conservation art series.  We will need many more days of rain if I am going to accomplish my goal of completing the 100 piece series by May.  

~T. 

 

 

The Art of Conservation: Drought Emergency in California

Sacramento CA

A twenty percent reduction in water consumption was issued last week by Governor Jerry Brown in response to the drought emergency that has been declared for the state of California.   Being the heathen that I am, briefly showering every other day is normal for me so I doubt that I will feel imposed on if we are asked to sacrifice bathing. We’ve already begun capturing excess water to use on the garden. Numerous churches and religious leaders are hoping that prayers for precipitation will be heard and responded to, and even I have been dancing, chanting, and shaking my Native American Rain Stick everyday in hopes of a positive response from nature.

There is a risk that approximately 200,000 acres agricultural land in the Central Valley will not be planted as a result of the drought.  To further complicate the impact that a dwindling water supply is having on farmland that produces about 45 percent of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is on the verge of collapse.  The Delta is a critical part of the state’s water supply from Silicon Valley to San Diego.   It is estimated that 30 percent of Southern California’s water supply moves across the 700,000-acre Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas and home to 750 distinct species of plants and animals.

Invasive species, pollution and the destruction of most of the area’s wetland and river habitat due to existing water-supply operations continue to have profound impacts on the Delta.  The natural direction of the rivers flowing out of the Delta have been reversed and as a result of water conveyance systems and other issues, several native species are on the brink of extinction.  A sustainable path forward in the Delta must be insured or the continued ecological collapse of the estuary will result in further reductions in water supply for California cities and agriculture.

There is a proposed plan to build two massive twin tunnels under the delta to divert Sacramento River water around the Bay/Delta estuary for distribution to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California cities and suburbs.  The monetary costs could range above $69 billion, and the irreparable damage to the environment?  Astronomical.    Seems to me that there isn’t enough water in California to justify the destruction.   Are we not wise enough to realize that creating a resilient water distribution system based on recycling, conservation and the development of local supplies is more worthy of consideration?  The Environmental Water Caucus’ Responsible Exports Plan provides sustainable solutions that are more economical and less taxing on California’s rivers and bays.  The science and common sense applications that are demonstrated in the report conclude that:

…”The combination of water efficiency solutions and reduced reliance on the Delta that are recommended obviate the need for increased surface storage and increased conveyance through the Delta.  Water efficiency actions can provide California with the largest increment of future water supply that is currently available to us; the solutions will also provide ample water supplies for population growth, agricultural and industrial growth, and for improving the conditions of our natural landscapes.”

Conservation really is a work of art.  I have started a mixed media series of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and should any of the work sell, ten percent of the profit will be donated to a conservation program of the collector’s choosing.
Please leave a comment if you are interested in supporting the effort.

~T.

American River
American River – Pencil on Paper – 8 x 11 ” © 2014, Theresa Funk


 

Beautiful Buttes

Sutter Buttes

We stopped to take in a view of  the Sutter Buttes today, but they were barely visible through the agricultural dust from the Great Valley of central California.  Also known as the  “smallest mountain range in the world,” the Buttes rise about 2,000 feet above the fields of walnut, rice, almond, and other crops that abundantly grow in the central California region.

Access to the Buttes is extremely limited, but easements have been granted as part of land trust agreements that make guided, educational hikes possible.  The Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust  continues its mission to protect and preserve the Buttes and surrounding lands for years to come.  I intend to participate in an interpretive hike and take in the full beauty of the Buttes more intimately.

Until then, I enjoy the views of the small circular complex of eroded volcanic lava domes from a distance.
~T.

Excellent Birds

California is a stopover  on the Pacific Flyway, a major route for the millions of birds that migrate from Alaska to Patagonia.  My visit to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area near Colusa, California last year was an incredible sight to behold, and an experience worth repeating.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership seeks to protect, restore, and enhance lands that support bird populations in California.  It is estimated that Less than 10% of the state’s original wetland habitat remains today, and the threat of losing more habitat persists.  The Partnership is working hard to preserve and enhance the places where these birds  rest, feed, and breed  in an attempt to reverse the declines that many of these populations have been experiencing.   I do my best to support worthy causes by donating time or money, and sometimes both.    Regardless of how much or little that I give, the intention is always sincerely appreciated.

~T

They arrive by the thousands and drop from the sky,

landing in groups of two, three, or six sometimes and all at oncce.

A Pintail circles around another,

one other takes to flight.

A cloud of Snow Geese grace

the liquid surface of the world.

The sound of wings uplifting is like a sudden burst of inexhaustible joy.

Colusa

©2012 Theresa Funk

As Cool as a Pickled Cucumber

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Three types of phytonutrients found in cucumbers provide us with valuable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits. Cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids have been the subject of active and ongoing research to determine the extent and nature of their anti-cancer properties.

We are making two batches of non-fermented pickles with the first harvest of cucumbers that are thriving in our garden, and will savor the flavor of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese that  these incredible vegetables provide us.  

~T.

Pine Nut Opine

photo (22)

More than 80 percent of the pine nuts eaten in American are harvested from the Korean pine,  (Pinus koraiensis) a native tree in eastern Asia.  it is the most widely traded pine nut in international commerce.

Knowing this made the two-hour task of harvesting a half-cup of seeds from California’s native Gray pine trees (Pinus sabiniana) seem a bit less tedious, and the garden fresh basil and thyme pesto will taste all the better for having made the effort.

 

 

 

 

 

~T.

The Swedish Bohemian’s Funk House Art Garden

The Funk House Art Garden is a recreational Bohemian social club that I founded in 2009 while living in Middlebury, Vermont at the address formerly known as 190 South Pleasant Street.   My former residence, the Joshua Henshaw House, was built in the early 1800’s and is listed on the state’s historical registry.   It was an interesting building to live in, albeit cold and drafty in the winter.  

.Joshua Henshaw House  

I lived in two different apartments in this building, and with the exception of a few rowdy neighbors from time to time, genuinely enjoyed creating art and a garden there.  Now, I am creating my art and garden in California  in a different rented space that I share with my lover, companion, dearest friend, and the Garden’s guard dog, Stella.

gardent

The three of us are happy and keeping ourselves nourished with an abundant supply of love, encouragement, kindness, and kale.

~T.