Calistoga, California

I spent a week in California: visiting old friends, seeing my hometown with new eyes but with the very same heart, and exploring new nooks. Here are a few photographs of a new-to-me place: Calistoga.  It should not be news to me, but man, northern California is so so beautiful.  I was swept away by the oleander and succulents and miles and miles of hardy drought tolerant plants. Still magically lush.

I stayed with a friend at a spot in Calistoga that had the most plentiful rosemary and lavender hedges. It’s like when you live in Washington, DC, and you pass by the Capitol, you get swept away by its role in the landscape, its beauty. That’s how I feel about those hedges and their intoxicating scent.IMG_7972 massive lavender hedge

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massive agave!

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I might even be a morning person here DSC_1039 DSC_1056
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a tiny vineyard just before harvest

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Why am I not growing edible flowers?  Can you imagine having these sprinkled across a summer salad?  On my growing list next spring!

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still dreaming of giant succulents

DSC_1084 My new friend Juan Luis is a groundskeeper where I stayed, and he very generously spent an hour to talk with me about his work caring for this incredible land. He is pictured here with his Colombian coffee tree that he is attempting (albeit skeptically) to grow on their property. He’s quite proud of its progress so far.🙂

DSC_1086 these lines on an oak cork tree

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And finally, the treasures from my nature walk. Until next time, California! xo

Calistoga, California

Hike: Potomac Heritage Trail

Hiking is one of those things that I always want to do, but never end up making the time.  So for my birthday weekend, it was my first choice.   We explored the Potomac Heritage Trail.  It is so close, and has everything I want in a hike: shade, water, and rocks to scramble!  I can’t believe how close it is to the city, and yet feels a world away.  It was actually pretty technical, and, at my best, I felt a bit like a billy goat.

I had the loveliest day — calls from family, singing nieces and nephews, and sweet thoughts from friends throughout the day.  (Thank you everyone!)  And the people here in my life, made the entire weekend so very special.  I went to sleep with enormous gratitude for having a body that could enjoy that hike, and grateful for the many thoughtful people I am very lucky to know.

I can’t wait to get back on this trail.  Next time, I plan to stop and take photos of all the baby ferns I adored along the way.  But for now, the rocks.  :)

Hike: Potomac Heritage Trail

Rolling Stones gather Moss

 We sat outside one evening this week, and a little bug friend joined us.  (S)he stayed relatively still until we put on music, and then this happened.  We couldn’t stop laughing. Rolling Stones really do gather moss!  Enjoy.  Also here are few things I enjoyed around the Internet this week.

Want a picture perfect adventure?  Rent a VW Van to tour the South of France.  Prefer staying home?  They have one dreamy Instagram.

What’s better than getting seeds in the mail?  Here’s the organic seed-of-the-month club.

Frida Kahlo and her garden at the NY Botanic Garden.  I am dying to see it.  Open till Nov. 1!

A lovely little travel piece on the Redwoods.

Cup of Jo “beauty uniforms”, where women discuss how they nurture their bodies inside and out.  I love them.  This one inspired me to ditch all of my face products. It simplified my mornings and my skin feels happier.  Plus, I am saving money!

For the green thumbed introvert.🙂

Happy almost weekend!  I can’t wait.  xo

Rolling Stones gather Moss

Propagating Rosemary

Rosemary, hardy as it can be, takes time to establish.  Tiny rosemary plants typically don’t do well under my watch.  Last fall I bought a bushy hardy mature bush, and it’s thriving!  So to save a little money, I am attempting to propagate it.  Take a stem, one that is still soft and not woody, and cut about two inches from the plant.

Remove leaves from the bottom to about 2/3 of the way up.  Make sure no leaves are submerged in water.  Save for dinner.

Et voila!  Place your Rosemary in a glass of water and leave in a sunny spot.  You can apply growth hormone, or wait a bit longer.  I opted for the latter.  Wait a few weeks and a root system will begin to form.  Soon you can transplant your little plant into a pot.  

Propagating Rosemary

That Desert Sage

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“There is not a tree, nothing but sage.  As moonlight unto sunlight is that desert sage to other greens.  Not a house, windmill, hill, only that jade-gray plain with lilac mountains on every distant horizon.  The mountains companionably move along with you as the dirt road flows behind.  The plain, like a great Lazy Susan, turns gravely, and as it turns it brings into view primroses blooming in the sand, and cactus pads with great red and yellow blooms showy as hibiscus.”

– Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

That Desert Sage