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Henrietta and Gracie

Not a new Jeopardy category (though they could be, I suppose), they’re a couple of gals we’d seen around town before but got to meet this morning. (DON’T FORGET TO CLICK THE PICTURES TO SEE THE ENTIRE PICTURE)

Back in November I made a post that said Campbell Chicks are the best. Today Springfield Al and I were introduced to them both. The one in the foreground is Gracie and the other one is Henrietta. Or is it the other way around? Dang.

Anyway, Al and I stopped by to introduce ourselves to the “chicken lady” (yes, I know – we’re very original in our naming conventions 😉 and to ask her if she’d like to participate in the Campbell Farmer approach to garden-sharing. Turns out she’d be thrilled to participate so we’ve added another contributing / exchanging person and their gardens. (She’s already got a nice garden going and is converting another unused area to garden as we speak.)

Thus far we’ve got “the usual” goodies: lettuces, onions, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, peas, beans, potatoes, herbs, watermelons, cantaloupes, fresh chicken eggs, jams, jellies and honey.

Seems like with very little effort, we’re picking up momentum. Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you get work. home page photo / logo

Springfield Al and I were out yesterday and I shot this pic to crop and use as part of the homepage of

Downtown Ted tells me the beginning of his winter vegetables will be ready soon to give me in exchange for the jar ‘o honey I gave him last week.

So far, I’ve got local sources for fresh laid eggs and winter veggies (beans, lettuces, etc). Our citrus is ready for harvesting now, so we’ve got fresh orange juice and citrus needed for the marmalades everyone likes so much. Oh, I know: I’ll check with that certain neighbor who loves to bake bread to see if she’ll swap some of our goodies for her bread. Mr. C has smooth-skinned avocados I need to pick for him today… he always offers some, so I’ll swap some pomegranate jelly for those, too.

Darn… if only there was a milk cow in the neighborhood, we’d be closing in on a pretty good local-food exchange.

That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you have work.

Hey, Bud!

Well, it’s happened a whole lot earlier than usual – the first blossom of the year on one of our fruit trees.

I saw the buds forming up late last week and thought they’d open in a week or so… they opened yesterday, so here for your viewing pleasure is the first blossom of our Apricot tree for 2009 🙂 (Click the pic – it’s massively beautiful!)

Almond blossom.

Fig bud (several weeks before they’ll open, I’m betting.)

Almond blossoms.

Cherry buds (weeks before opening), with beautiful Dapnne in the background.

I realize that a number of people who visit TBC are pretty well wrapped around the axle, chasing the ever-important sale and other business goals and/or family / life issues they’re dealing with. With the reporting tools Google provides me, I can see that visitors are coming from around the world, including snow-bound places like London, Munich, Berlin, Wales, Oslo, Chicago, Ft. Wayne, Beijing, Boston and the like. Thinking of them, I stepped outside last week to shoot these photos and then, naturally, took the a few minutes – just for me – to stop and smell the flowers.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to write when you get work.

Hello Tommy (!) and lots to report :)

Joanne and I heard from one of our former neighbors, Tommy, a kid that Owen grew up with and pal-ed around with for all of our time over on Springfield. It’d been, what… 4 years since we last talked with Tom… it was when Tom and his bride were married, I think.

Turns out that Tommy and his wife (Renell – spelling?) have gotten their AA’s in a legal-related field and their both focused on finishing their BA’s, then hope to earn their JD’s. In the meantime, they’re in the music-production business down in Hollywood, doing their best – and succeeding, it seems – in placing music in TV shows and films.

Tom and Owen were very close in their middle-school / early high school years (before Owen moved back to LA) – there are darn few photos of Owen around our house that don’t have Tommy in the frame… darn few.

We love Tom like a son and are very pleased to hear life is treating him (and his bride) well and they’re loving life.

On to other news… my calendar’s been a little pinched with paid-activities lately, but we did manage to extract ~4 gallons of honey over the weekend. We’re in the final stages of jarring that (tonight, I think) and so I hope to have a write up and photos for you over the next few days. (Oh, and, it looks like I’ll be adding a 2nd hive next month… and neighbors have already begun signing up for their own “co-op” share of the hive / honey. You go, modern CampbellFarmer-guy 😉

That’s about it for now, I think. Thx for visiting and don’t forget to write when you get work 🙂

Made my first CampbellFarmer score today…

Sitting outside of Orchard Valley Roasting yesterday morning, Ted (local guy) and I were discussing our “crops”. Turns out Ted raises a few melons and beans @ his place. I mentioned we had, oh, about 100 lbs (and counting, every day) of ripe apples and I’d be interested in swapping a few apples for a coupla melons. Deal, says Ted.

Today when I cruised down there to meet Al for an 8:30 coffee, Ted showed up with these two nice samples… good thing, too, cause I brought him a half-dozen apples. Turns out he wants them for pies, so I’ll swing by there this afternoon with a small bag full of the crisp, green Gala’s and he can pick them up the next time he’s by the shop.

Oh, and, hello to Sara and her husband – apparently looking for people to swap veggies with, too!

right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot… Maybe this is how these local things begin… with baby steps. If you’re interested in exchanging goodies that you grow here / nearby Campbell, shoot me an email (twobigcats at gmail dot com) and we can begin connecting the community dots.

If not, I get all of Ted’s extra melons.

Are you a Campbell

At about the same period of time we’ve gotten deeper in to home canning (50+ cases of jams / jellies / liqueurs), there has been an increasing awareness of the benefits of consumers growing / eating locally grown foods. Lots of “green” reasons (carbon footprint, likely more environmentally friendly), “tomatoes taste like the tomatoes we ate as kids”, and last, when done properly under good conditions, it seems to be more cost-effective.

As we were dealing with getting rid of our excess fruit production a few years ago we began exchanging more of our goodies with friends and neighbors. While they didn’t have any fruit we needed (we have a pretty good variety), we did like getting some of their excess vegetable production. We got beans, squash, a few tomatoes and this year, our first lettuce from Laurel.

When my eyes began to widen a bit more on the subject (homegrown veggies / fruit), I wondered out loud if there wasn’t some form of neighborhood / community exchange for the stuff we were all growing. (We’ve attended the Campbell Farmer’s Market since ’92 or ’93… don’t remember when it began – it was on Thursdays back then, iirc.) The idea won’t leave my head, so a couple of days ago, I registered the domain with the intent of establishing an exchange / board for local folks to get in touch and share with one another, completely non-commercial. My plans / schedule aren’t fully formed yet, so I’ll let you know when I have some things rolling along.

Thanks for visiting, be well and write when you get work.