Tag Archives: Southern California

wondering in and around our local backyards…

Unless you just started following this blog last week, you probably know that aside from shibori, dyeing and silk, my other pleasure is gardening. This post is NOT about shibori, or dyeing, but isn’t everything connected?

Summer vegetable gardening is in full swing here- picked the first zucchini and tomatoes last night and made a beautiful and delicious casserole with them for dinner. Had to use store bought onions and garlic but those are going to be harvested soon as well.

it happened before i got to finishing this post!

Something has been simmering in the back of my mind this past year as I watch the California powers that be (and that generally means the $$$ powers in real estate development who fuel politics) gradually chip away at any and all open space by filling our urban area with much denser spaces- both residential and commercial development, without creating a balance of open space like parks, preserves, and community garden spaces. Not only are they building denser multi story residential buildings, cities and the state are allowing- in fact encouraging, increased density on single family home lots with minimal open space required.
As a home gardener for over 40 years, I feel this loss for future families and the environment. Gardening connects us to Nature, to our Earth, and maybe most importantly, to ourselves. It grounds us. As I wander in my little backyard oasis watching the birds, bees butterflies and other insects I wonder how much longer they will continue to have backyard habitats. A mindful gardener is a temporary keeper of the land they work, be it a small farm,orchard or a raised bed garden in their backyard or community garden. Small gardens are habitats for myriad birds, insects, and peaceful contemplation. A “habitat for the contemplative mind” if you will. Gardens provide food and beauty for ours and our neighbors tables.

I wonder what will happen when generations of humans have lost this connection not just to nature, but to the processes that teach us where our food comes from (and I don’t mean the grocery store-or even the farmers market)? Yes, we will probably (hopefullly) still take trips to visit nature on vacation, but will it be accessible out our back door or down the street? For many, it already isn’t there. And for many, vacations are something one dreams of.

I wonder how concerns for our environment will fare when people are disconnected from the soil that they can dig and run through their hand? What will be the tipping point for all this?

Even in urban areas like the one I live in, there are rivers (long ago cemented in) and wetlands (cruel fodder for continued oil extraction ($$$) and groups fighting for the very life and last breath of these valuable spaces. The local pols throw meatless bones in our direction hoping to satiate the majority through their next election funded by the very developers robbing us of these open spaces. Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) are avoided by both developers and our city, in favor of lesser mitigated negative declarations assuring us that the harm they do won’t affect us….much. There are solutions- solutions that cost extra $money and mean less profit. Decades of promised river plans bulldozed by the very pols that 20 years ago, used those promises in speeches to voters that fueled their slick campaigns.

I can’t say where this ends…but I see people out walking in this very neighborhood pass by my house and I can hear them say “Wow! I’ve never seen how artichokes grow!” or “is that how onions grow?”. If only they saw the back yard…

Cheers to the following Long Beach groups and their continued persistence in tilling the soil in their dogged and valiant efforts to educate and preserve enough nature and environmental quality for us here in our urban city so future generations have access to nearby places where we can co-exist in partnership with the very thing that keeps us physically and spiritually grounded.
CARP-Citizens About Responsible Planning
“Promoting the quality of life in the City of Long Beach through involvement and education in the greater Long Beach area.”
HUSH2/LBNF- Long Beach Neighborhoods First
To educate the citizens on environmental, social, and health impacts of policies and actions proposed by public officials or private entities on land use, transportation, and redevelopment efforts impacting our neighborhoods.
LBRC-Long Beach Reform Coalition
“The Long Beach Reform Coalition is a local, non-partisan umbrella organization and political action committee that promotes and supports public policies, laws, and candidates toward the goal of a transparent, accountable, and inclusive government.”
RPC-RiverPark Coalition
“Our vision is a healthier, happier environment for communities within the watershed of the lower Los Angeles River revitalization zone.”
Long Beach Chapter Sierra Club
” Exploring and enjoying nature is a healthy, happy way to live.”

I know most of my readers here are not from anywhere near this local area but I do know that many of the places you come from are feeling the pressures exerted on your own local habitats and environmental quality of life. I hope that you have organizations in your cities, towns and regions standing up for Nature, our World, and that you choose to participate with your involvement as you can. All are in need of funding, participation, and assistance.
Check out your local area groups and stay involved!


Hello World! (come on get happy!)

Who knew? Emily did and posted a link to my FB page- National Squirrel Appreciation Day… alas, it was today so missed the boat on that one but since I promised you an introduction here goes…a double post day!!

Meet Squirrelly Gurl- sometimes referred to as SG for short (kinda sounds like Shibori Girl doesn’t it?) .

Squirrelly Gurl-asking to come in the back kitchen door by doing the "nut dance"

Squirrelly Gurl-asking to come in the back kitchen door by doing the “nut dance”

She appeared a little over a year ago (I think) and was just hanging around on the fence rails as I worked outside, watching.  I started putting a few nuts up there and soon we became fast friends.
Soon enough she started letting me hand feed her. Actually she started reaching out to me as I reached out to put nuts on the fence rail. Scared me a bit at first but she was kind and patient with me and trained me how to feed her without fear.  I could take advantage of her trust by using her instinct to eat but I want her to stay wild to the degree that an urban squirrel should.  I could write all night about her adventures and have here and there on FB but maybe some of it is easier told in a photo gallery to begin…she is just so darn photogenic! (you can click to enlarge any of the photos)

So there you have it- a few of her many adventures.  I have hundreds of photos of her and she can be quite a distraction out in the studio. She hears me and comes right down for nuts.  Mostly she eats fresh walnuts as those are my favorites too. I get them from a grower here in CA in the shell (they ship all over).  I keep fresh water for her on the fence rail.  She had a baby that died- we called him Snaggletooth.  So far since moving into her palm tree highrise she has had two litters up there and is preparing for a third (they will have two a year if conditions are good).

And of course, she LOVES silk.  And Spanish Moss.  More on that later.

Goodnight from us both-

End of Day-Good night!

End of Day-Good night!

“I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.”
A.A. Milne