April 5th is a very special day in my family; it’s my dear brother Michael’s birthday. He is a wonderful gem, both brilliant and hilarious, but most importantly, generous and inspirational. Michael’s a helpful brother and son like no other, as well an amazing father and loving husband. I’m the baby of our family, and most old family photos show all six siblings, crammed in tightly and smiling widely, but I have a couple candids of just us two. Here’s one from1965 I call “Slovaks Chewing”:
Michael was one of the first of us siblings to show a deep interest in cultivation, building a vegetable garden on the hill above our childhood home in Northern California. He also spent about a year learning to live simply and self-sustainably in Washington State in his early twenties. Although he turns 59 today, this is probably how I’ll always remember him, on one of our hikes on Mt. Tam in 1981:
Happy Birthday, wonderful brother. I love you. Celebrate like crazy. See you soon.
Also in a celebratory vein, I’ve been keeping this online journal for exactly one month today. With 30 blog entries and close to 850 visits, it’s been a type of chronicle in gardening that I’m enjoying sharing with some family and a few friends. My goal is to continue writing as if no one reads this. 🙂 However, I do welcome supportive comments, questions, and gentle advice.
These have been weeks of prolific planting. Seeds are sprouting in soil all around Coppertop. Although I have plenty more to sow, I’ve begun lists of seeds planted:
- In beds — Rouge d’hiver lettuce, Buttercrunch lettuce, Nantes coreless carrots, bush beans, kale, spinach, runner beans, 2 varieties of peas
- In borders — mammoth sunflowers, sweet peas (flowers)
- In greenhouse seed trays — arugula, basil, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, 2 varieties of cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cucumbers, Italian parsley, 3 varieties of tomatoes, Walla Walla onions, zucchini
Some of these veggies are traditionally fall/winter crops, but it is so cool here that Brussels sprouts, kale, etc. will do just fine until late summer — and we don’t want to miss out on these delicious, cruciferous crops. This family of veggies’ name comes from Latin for “cross-bearing.” Their flowers have four petals resembling a cross.