Deer and gardens can coexist!

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of buck deer under bush

This young buck loves to hang out beneath the California Lilac (Ceanothus L.) bushes. These beautiful bushes are only twenty feet from my gardens. I have had ZERO deer problems this season, even though the deer are right up to the doorstep. There are plenty of posts on my website ( that tell you how I do it.

I love this guy. He and I came face-to-face about a week ago ... six feet apart and staring one another down. He finally walked off. Now, he just watches me while I work the garden.

Foxgloves everywhere!

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of Foxglove

These are more of my wife's plants and they are everywhere you look this time of year. For those who love in parts of the country where these do not grow or flourish, you are really missing out. These are very beautiful and come in a huge variety of colors. The bees like them, too - particularly bumblebees. :)

But as with apples in Paradise, the Foxglove is moderately to severely poisonous to you and your household pets. "Just look," Eve was told, "but don't eat." :)

Skidmark - our new hen

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of Tetra Tint chicken named Skidmark

I just had to share with you a photo of one of our new hens. I have named her "Skidmark." I'll let you figure that one out ... (click on the title of this post and then on the photo to enlarge).

She's a Tetra Tint, from the Tractor Supply. Elsewhere on this site, I have posted many times about the Tetra Tints and their progress. This is our first year with this hybrid strain (STRAIN not STAIN) and thus far, we are really enjoying them. And enjoying naming them... :)

Edible chive flowers

Submitted by jimwcoleman
Photo of edible chive flowers

Did you know that you can eat the flowers from your chive plants? I know, I know ... you're probably thinking: eat flowers?

They are DELICIOUS! You can just walk up to the plant, pick a few flowers and pop 'em in your mouth, or you can harvest them for cooking. I like them fried in butter with mushrooms and onions.

Whoa ... hold the horses ... varroa mites?

Submitted by jimwcoleman

During my hive inspection yesterday, I pulled out the plywood beneath the screened bottom board on Hive A and saw ... a whole bunch of varrao mites! Some alive, most dead. How could this be? I hived the package only three weeks ago. Prior to that, the hive only had one season on it. Last year, the hive perished unexpectedly (there may be a clue here), and I packed the fully drawn frames and hive away for winter. They were double-wrapped in plastic trash bags and then sealed in a box. How can I have varroa mites so early in the season? Can they over-winter on wrapped, empty frames?