Tag Archives: garden

recipe: spicy kale soup (with potato, lentil and tomato)

Granted, the term winter, in Northern Baja, should really be called ‘winter’ compared with many parts of the northern hemisphere during this time. That acknowledged, it is still the time for growing ‘winter vegetables’ – among them, kale, which seems to do quite well amidst the challenges of my rocky, nutrient-deprived soil.

kalesoup

 

So, I’m often looking for new ways to use said kale, since I tend to have an abundance of it. With a bit of help from my good friend google, I came across this recipe for Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup, which I modified somewhat. It was, I have to say, surprisingly delicious.

Spicy Kale Soup (with potato and tomato)

1 onion, thinly sliced4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
A bit of oil
A bit of red wine
1 stalk of celery, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 small bowl full of sun dried tomatoes, re hydrated, with their juice (I did not have a can of tomatoes as the original recipe called for, so I used the sundried garden tomatoes that I had, soaked in boiling water – they added a nice flavor. But, if you have actual tomatoes, or a can of tomatoes, use what you’ve got.)
A bit of chipolte salsa (I used Herdez)
2-3 cups of vegetable broth, or, lacking vegetable broth, water
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup diced potatoes
1 big bunch of kale, thinly sliced – use amounts to your taste

Saute the onion in the oil, adding garlic after about 5-6 minutes. If it begins to dry, add some red wine so that it doesn’t stick. After the onions and garlic become soft, add all the spices, and a bit more wine, to keep it from sticking. Add the celery. Add the salsa, to taste.
After a few minutes, add the tomatoes, lentils, potatoes and water/broth. Bring to a boil. Then simmer until the potatoes and lentils soften – about 20-25 minutes.
When it is just about ready, add the kale, stirring it in to soften it.

Serve in a bowl with grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese. It is also nice over rice.

Enjoy.

 

“crucify him!” (Jesus and the gopher, part 2)

Tigger, the hunter

There is good news, and there is bad news, and they are both the same thing. Despite the previously mentioned ‘ultima cena‘ for little gophy (and at the risk of rushing straight from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday) he lives.

It was Tigger who spotted him, from the porch. I’m not sure if spotted or sensed or smelled is the right word to use, but, upon watching her pounce from the porch down into the garden, I followed.

What I was greeted with brought me both relief and frustration. Relief knowing that my decision to use poison gas to rid the yard of little gophy had not actually murdered his poor gopher soul (and implicated my own in the process).  Frustration knowing that my ‘horticulture’ as it is described in Spanish (from my conversations yesterday at the granero) is most definitely still at risk of being destroyed from the roots up.

Quickly I called to Tigger, ran up to the porch, tied her up, and got the tube of gas pellets. I was headed back down the steps to gophy, whose little head was again poking up out of the hole, his big front teeth prominent, with the thought that this might just be it, the end of gophy. I had him in my sights, a perfectly accessible hole down which to drop the ‘danger poison gas pellet’ when, from somewhere, I heard, echoing in my head “crucify him! crucify him!”  (Apparently this is what can happen when one spends too much time alone in the garden…)

this is not the kind of 'shooting gophy' I initially had in mind

Today is, of course, Good Friday, the day on the Christian calendar commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. The day when the crowds cheered, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Author and Catholic priest Richard Rohr, in his daily meditation for Good Friday put it this way: “The central issue at work [on Good Friday] is the human inclination to kill others, in any multitude of ways, instead of dying ourselves—to our own illusions, pretenses, narcissism, and self-defeating behaviors.” Hmmm…

Today also, this year, happens to be Earth Day, a day, as wikipedia puts it “to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth’s natural environment.” The day when we are supposed to celebrate the earth and its creatures, all God’s creation. Presbyterian Pastor Craig Goodwin, in an article about the intersection of Good Friday and Earth Day, puts it this way: “Earth Day’s collaboration with Good Friday helps the church remember that, like his love, Jesus’ sacrifice is for all the Earth.”

On both accounts, it seemed like a rather bad day to reach for the gas pellets.

So, I put the tube back in the bag and headed into the house for some garlic. Yesterday the Mexican caretaker of the house next to me told me that garlic will deter gophers. So, I peeled off a couple of ‘dientes’ (literally teeth) of garlic, dropped them in the hole, and covered it up.

15 minutes later Tigger was back in the yard, watching the gopher, its head poking out of a new hole.

maundy thursday (or, jesus and the gopher)

Tigger, with muddied nose and paws from attempted gopher excavation

I happened to be in Tijuana today so I decided it was time–time to head to Home Depot and take care of what has become an escalating gopher ‘situation’ in the yard–the same yard in which I’ve been planting tomatoes, blueberries, arugula, carrots and strawberries, among other things.

Well, to be entirely forthright, it was yesterday afternoon when I realized it was time. The gopher had poked its (actually rather cute) head out of one of the many holes and appeared to be looking around. Tigger (the dog), who had been waiting for this sighting, stood about a foot away, staring at said gopher. Her concentration was complete, but she did not make a lunge for the gopher. I’m guessing that since they live under ground gophers eyesight is not great, because it didn’t seem to notice a fairly large potential predator staring right at it.

I watched. And waited. Nothing. Tigger had been stalking it all afternoon, so I didn’t understand why she didn’t pounce. So, I took matters into my own hands, which happened to be holding a rake. With a really long handle. A handle that is sort of the same size as a gopher hole. I shoved the rake handle into the hole. At which point I realized that I had officially crossed some sort of line. A troubling one.

“Did I really just go after the gopher with the end of the rake?” I asked myself–though not out loud, as that would make me sound crazy.

Of course the gopher was much quicker than my rake wielding skills, so it really accomplished nothing. Except for to unmask the truth behind my so-called “belief in non-violence,” which is something that I would espouse as something I adhere to. Except, apparently, when it comes to gophers eating my vegetables. Which got me to thinking about non-violent resistance, and how there are real situations with real threats and folks choose a path that relinquishes fighting back.  Which then lead me to ponder liberation theology, which is often associated with the need, at some point, to fight back against an oppressor. Which lead me to many other thoughts that I won’t bore you with here.

Cut to today. I was in Tijuana, happened to be near Home Depot, and decided it was time to find a gopher solution. Which, apparently, at least in Mexico, is not found at Home Depot but at the ‘granero’ which is literally translated ‘barn’ but in actuality is a sort of feed supply store that also sells baby chicks, ducks, dogs, and, as I found out, gopher ‘solutions.’

One brief aside, for context. Today, Thursday, happens to be what is called on the Christian calendar, Maundy Thursday. Mandy Thursday (which I always thought growing up was Monday Thursday and didn’t really get) is the Thursday before Easter that Christians celebrate as the Passover meal which Jesus shared with his disciples.  It is frequently referred to as the “Last Supper” and is the subject of the famous painting of the same name.

So, when I walked into the granero and asked the woman if she had anything for gophers (I intentionally didn’t use the word ‘kill’ but stuck with ‘anything for gophers’ hoping that maybe I could find a way to avert traveling further down the path that the rake handle had begun) her response seemed rather fitting, in a troubling sort of way.

“Ah, la ultima cena para los topos,” she responded, which, translated loosely means “Ah, the last supper for the gophers.”

“Como hoy, con Jesus?” I responded (like today, with Jesus?). I assumed that her somewhat incomprehensible look back at me was that she simply didn’t know that today was Maundy Thursday, the day commemorating Jesus’ Last Supper.  In reflecting back on the situation, it occurs to me that perhaps she was not unaware, but somewhat troubled that I would compare poisoning gophers to Jesus.

There were a few more mentions of ‘ultima cena’ (which, each time, made me more and more uncomfortable with the merging of the terminology between gophers and Jesus) but she finally decided that, since I do have a dog, rather than the ‘ultima cena’ what I needed was gas pellets, which, unfortunately, she did not have. Somehow adding a gas pellet to the mix did not seem to make the conversation more palatable.

So I left. And went to another granero, which thankfully did not use the ‘ultima cena’ reference, and which did happen to have the gas pellets. After an extensive discussion regarding whether or not they could be used in a garden with a dog and with vegetables, and with a consult to a veterinarian (again, this seems like a troubling turn of events), it was determined that the gas pellets would work. The same gas pellets that, when I googled the name, made sure to warn that they are only to be used by trained and certified professionals. Where did I put that rake again…?

The thing is, I’ve been trying the ‘natural gopher deterrent’ route for some time now, with pretty much no success, as little gophy’s appearance yesterday can attest to.  Bill Murray’s got nothing on me, with google on my side. I’ve tried putting dog poop down the holes, using a hose, planting onions nearby, a stake that makes some sort of noise that is supposed to keep the gophers away, and even some other things that shall go unmentioned. Yesterday, after the rake incident, Jose suggested that one solution he had heard about was breaking wine bottles and putting them in the bottom of the hole where you are going to plant something. Which may or may not work, until the next season when you have to dig the soil again…

I spent the afternoon planting new seedlings–tomato, cucumber, kale, basil–which was, in a sense, procrastinating.

My mind was doing as much digging around as my hands.

…Why am I planting all of these if the gopher is just going to eat them?
…Are you really going to gas the gopher?
…Do you have any other solutions left? What about planting garlic?
…You talk about Jesus’ death on the cross as the ultimate act of non-violent resistance…and to commemorate it you are going to murder that poor, sweet, cuddly, furry little gopher? What kind of hypocrite are you?

Okay, so that last one might be a bit of a stretch…or is it? Is it ever okay to take life, intentionally, premeditated? Are vegetables sufficient rationale? I’m sorry PETA, but I don’t think twice before swatting a mosquito that is about to bite me. But somehow a gopher seems different–maybe it’s the cuddly nature. I didn’t really think twice when I encouraged Tigger to catch the mouse which had gotten in the house and was hiding under the kitchen sink. But that was a mouse…in the house.

This gopher was just out in the garden, being a gopher, minding its own gopher business when it happened upon a goldmine–carrots (which, being a root vegetable, are completely within gopher range). Who wouldn’t partake?

I realize there are some (who have probably stopped reading this by now, wondering what the drama is all about) who would not think twice about doing whatever it takes to rid the yard of gophers. One of the options that was presented at the granero was a rather large metal trap. “No gracias,” I promptly replied. There was no way I was going to dispose of a gopher corpse.

But the thing is, if I could get someone else to do it for me, I’d probably be right there with them. Which, I’m afraid, does not help my cause much. “I’m okay with killing as long as I don’t have to have blood on my hands” seems to be a fairly apropos sentiment reminiscent of Pontius Pilate. It was Pilate who (on what has now come to be called ‘Good Friday”) infamously ‘washed his hands’ of guilt/responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus.

But that, conveniently, is a story for tomorrow.

so, what do you actually do?

“So, what do you actually do?”

morning coffee: one of my favorite daily rituals

The question–“What do you do?” is a fairly common one, at least in the slice of American society of which I’m familiar. It’s the sort of standard intro question, at parties or in other situations where one meets new people. It’s a normal ‘get to know you’ kind of question.

The thing is, I get it from people who already know me, and it tends to have a slightly different emphasis. Instead of “What do you do?” It is more often, “So, what do you do?” I’ve had various ways of answering it, since a simple answer seems to be outside of my grasp. My favorite was someone’s suggestion to answer “About what?”

The thing is, I often don’t even know how to describe what I ‘do’ so the idea of trying to communicate it to someone else can be a challenge.

In light of that, here is a slice of ‘what I do.’ It happened to occur yesterday, in Baja California, Mexico.

What’s become my morning routine of contemplative prayer/meditation (I’m working on this one–I sit there for 15 minutes, but it’s not always very focused), green juice, coffee, reading, writing, breakfast (oatmeal with mixed nuts, fruit, cinnamon), and taking Tigger for a short walk was cut short because, after a four year hiatus, I had finally made a dentist appointment. For 9AM. In Rosarito. My entire life I’ve only been to one dentist’s office, in Corona del Mar, that of (no joke) Dr. Smiley. Dr. Smiley passed away a few years ago and though I’ve been to his office to see his replacement, it’s not the same. Plus, since I’m in Mexico, and since rates are significantly more reasonable here than in Corona del Mar, I decided it was time to make the switch.

Doctora Ana Pacheco Nuño had been recommended, so I made an appointment to see her at the Hospital Jardon (which, it turns out, also does breast augmentation–good to know that when I return for my ‘fillings’ they don’t just have to be for my teeth). My Spanish is pretty good, but I’ve never had reason to learn words such as ‘gums,’ ‘cavities,’ or ‘fillings.’ So, when she asked me about my ‘rellenos,’ (which literally means ‘fillings’) it took me a minute to move from ‘chile rellenos’ to ‘you need a new filling’ as in, teeth. (By the way, if you think it is tough to carry on a conversation with the dentist while your mouth is propped open and your teeth are being scraped, let’s just say doing so in Spanish adds to the fun.) Doctora Ana also learned a new English word, ‘straw,’ when she was trying to explain to me that she wanted me to treat the suction device to clear my mouth of saliva as a straw–“you know, the thing, when you are drinking a soda, that you use to go like this (sound of sucking on a straw).”

bolillo--yumminess plain or toasted

After leaving Doctora Ana’s office ($40 will take care of your cleaning, then $50/cavity/filling from there) I went in search of the ‘panaderia’ (bakery) that we used to always stop at when I was a kid. Rosarito has changed and grown and spralled much in the intervening decades, but the panaderia is still there, still the same inside, with all of the tempting looking treats, but without the short fat man that used to work there. I got my bolillos and then asked the woman at the counter about the man who used to work there. “Where is the man who used to work here, he was a bit short?” I asked. “Oh, you mean the short little fat man?” she responded. I love the directness of Mexico. “Yes, the gordito,” I replied. Turns out he moved to mainland Mexico to take care of his aging and ailing mother, but he is still in good health. I asked her to pass along greetings (saludos) to him, as I’ve known him since I was a young girl.

From the bakery I went to get water at a great new place that Kathy told me about where it costs only 7 pesos instead of 12 pesos to refill your 5 gallon jug (garafon). That’s approximately 60 cents instead of $1. But still… A quick stop at Smart & Final (for dog food) somehow turned into a great time to stock up on jack cheese, nice looking celery, olive oil, cumin, and chopped garlic. Rosarito errands done, I headed back to La Mision to make it in time to the Monday Market (el mercadito) which is something of a cross between a farmers market and a flea market.

baby boom box (coat hanger attenae was my addition)

You never know what you are going to find at the Monday Market. Last week I got a copy of the complete Chronicles of Narnia, basically new, for $1.50. I gave them $2 and they didn’t have change, so instead of .50 I got a used stuffed penguin, which Tigger quickly tore apart. I’ve been looking for a small FM radio, as there is a local station in Ensenada 92.9 that I’ve been wanting to listen to as a way of practicing my Spanish. Not only was I successful on the ‘baby boom box’ front (though I had to borrow 11 cents from a neighbor as I only had $1.89 left and the absolute bottom price for the baby boom box was $2) but I also made my favorite Monday Market purchase yet–two fruit trees.

There are not normally plants for sale, but a man from Ensenada, Josue, drove up a pickup truckload of plants/trees to sell. “Do you have fruit trees?” I asked. Yes, was his reply. He had limon (what we would call lime), peach, plum, pear and something else for which I did not know the word. “It’s like a peach” he described. “Oh, smaller, and soft like hair?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. I’m pretty sure it was an apricot. Though I guess it may also have been a nectarine.

Anyway, after discussing the trees a bit (they are good trees, tall, he said–I know, I answered, I can see they are good trees) the price came down a bit, and then came the negotiation. “How much for 2?” I asked. He thought a bit (one tree had been 150 pesos) and then said “240 pesos.” Now, I’m pretty sure I could have bargained him down lower–he wanted to make the sale and he saw that he had me on the line–but here’s the thing–240 pesos is about $20, for two healthy tall (about 6ft each) fruit trees, each of which that would probably cost me around $40 in the US. It was a bargain for me to get them for $10 a piece. The average day’s salary for a worker in Mexico is about 200-250 pesos, a bit more for a skilled laborer. So, I’m guessing that 240 pesos was a good deal for him too.

“It’s a deal,” I said, and gave him the 240 pesos, all of my remaining money, save 26 pesos for two tacos. He took my money, I took my trees to the car, and when I returned I saw him leaving the market, with many plants still in the back of his truck.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that he made the sale that he needed for the day, so he was done. It’s something I love about Mexico. Sure, he could’ve stayed longer and maybe sold more, but why? He had what he needed for the day, so his work was done.

I got my two birria tacos and then headed home to figure out where to plant my new fruit trees. I found what I decided was the perfect location for the plum tree and began digging. Let’s just say I’ve got some rocky ground to contend with normally, but this was even worse that usual. About a foot down I came across what can only be described as a small boulder. I got the pick-ax and tried to dislodge it, but realized that this time the boulder was going to win. So, I moved the hole slightly to the side, planted the tree, and brushed off the dirt.

some of my 'rocky ground'

Luckily I got done just in time to leave the rocky ground to the garden and head to what has become a monthly ‘spiritual conversation group.’ Last month we talked about grace. This month we were to discuss good and evil. Our group is somewhat eclectic, including three science of the mind types (I’m not sure if that’s how they would describe themselves, but I think so), one former Baptist minister, one former (and excommunicated) Jehovah’s Witness, one Presbyterian pastor’s widow, one atheist Jew, one atheist Catholic, a practicing Catholic, and me, a Presbyterian Designated Tentmaking Evangelist. Needless to say, we’ve had some fascinating conversations. Yesterday’s included whether or not love requires action, if evil is just an illusion, letting go of judgment, the writings of a greek slave named Ἐπίκτητος (Epictetus) and whether or not there is a hell (including a quote from Pope John Paul II that would make it sound doubtful).

What is amazing about this group is that we come from some seriously different worldviews, but we are able to share with one another, listen to each other, push back against things that don’t make sense in our understanding, and explain how we each have come to experience God (who some refer to as Source, Light, Love). I feel thankful that I can be a part of these conversations.

Since I didn’t have time to change out of my gardening clothes (though I did try to clean off the dirt) before our spiritual conversation group, when it was done I headed back to the garden to plant a blueberry bush I got while I was in the US. I’ve been putting off planting it in the ground as I’ve been dealing with ‘topos’ (gophers) in something of my own personal Caddyshack. I thought I had begun to have them under control (apparently dog poop and human urine are both potential deterrents…I’ll leave that one there) so I figured it was time to get the blueberries in the ground. (Unfortunately this morning I have seen some new gopher activity, so we’ll have to see how things go.)We’ll see whether or not any of this planting will bear fruit. I hope so. Some of the local boys that help my friend Jose with the horses have given me the nickname ‘frutas’ (which means fruit). I think it is fairly appropriate.

So, that’s what I did. At least what I did yesterday. Are you sorry you asked? 😉

photo: cactus flower

taste your food

'tomato' by erin dunigan

The first time I noticed it, it happened to be in the form of a tomato. It was fresh from the garden, homegrown, just off the vine and I was slicing it up to eat for dinner.

“This is so good!” I couldn’t help exclaiming as I took my first bite. It was, in no uncertain terms, delicious.

“Wow, what a difference it makes to eat your tomato fresh from the vine, vs. fresh from the produce aisle at the supermarket,” I thought to myself. Even the ‘vine ripened’ tomatoes in the market didn’t even come close to the flavor of the home grown version. So, for the past five years since, I’ve made sure each spring to plant tomatoes. “They should have a different name for the ones that they sell in the supermarket,” I remember thinking. Because the tasteless bland bit of mush is really nothing like the real thing. I seemed to be turning into something of a tomato snob. Not just a snob, but a real tomato evangelist as well. “Here, try one of these, you’ll love it,” I offered to friends and neighbors, when the plants’ yields were more than I could keep up with. “It is so much better than the store bought variety–try it!” I’d push. Not quite a megaphone and placards preaching impending doom on the street corner, but close.

This behavior continued over the past five years, fairly consistent. In the intervening time I read books such as Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy and  Michael Polan’s In Defense of Food. I started paying attention to where my food came from–meaning, how far away (do I really need out of season berries from Argentina?) as well as how it was grown (do I really want to eat beef from a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) with all of the potential for disease, not to mention the ecological ramifications such mass produced farming efforts leave in their wake.

But then one day a few weeks ago something else happened.

Spending more of my time in Baja California, I’ve been trying to get as much of what I need locally, rather than picking it up when I happen to be in the US. Amazingly, even though it is a small town, a new ‘produce market’ opened up locally, with all kinds of fruits and vegetables, most of them locally grown. On this particular day, along with my other items, I picked up a cucumber and a few carrots. That night as I was peeling the cucumber and slicing it to put in a salad, I sampled a bit.

“This has so much flavor!” I couldn’t help but exclaim. I was amazed. I didn’t realize that cucumbers could be so flavorful–so much that I could even smell the cucumber as I was slicing it.

That was when I realized–maybe the same thing that is true for the tomato, is true for the cucumber as well?! Is it possible that cucumbers, real ones, grown locally and picked when they are actually ripe and ready to be eaten, is it possible that they are actually much more flavorful than their store bought counterparts, just like tomatoes? It seemed so obvious, now that I saw it, but still somehow I was stunned.

The next day it happened again. I was hungry and wanted a snack. I spotted the carrot and decided I’d peel it and have a healthier snack than the chips and salsa I was eying. So, you guessed it. I peeled and sliced the carrot and as I bit into it, again was taken aback. “You mean carrots are flavorful too?!”

So, it made me wonder. How much else of what we have been accustomed to eating and drinking is actually a shadow of the real thing? And perhaps more importantly, why in the world have we allowed this to be so?

Running, preaching, gardening and rain

It’s a good thing that I can type with my hands and not my legs (probably for many reasons) because I can tell you that after doing a long run today my legs are stiff, sore, and as Tommy says, just plain “weared out.” Aside from the post-run tiredness, in other marathon news I have been truly overwhelmed by the amazing support from so many of you (for the rest, there’s still time…just kidding, I mean, there is still time, but kidding about the pushy salesperson part) and I am happy to say that I have reached the $2500 point! Not only does that mean that the Labrecque Foundation gets that much more money to help research and hopefully cure lung cancer, but it also means I don’t have to take up a side job as a street preacher with a collection jar in front of me.

Speaking of preaching (talk about a segue), I preached to the choir again a few weeks back.  This is the same small, struggling church in Long Beach where I preached this summer and where there were more people in the choir than the congregation. This time the congregation had three times as many people as the choir! But unfortunately that’s just because the choir’s down to 5…  The text was the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37) and though you can’t listen or read it (they don’t tape and I was practicing my ‘preaching without a manuscript’ skills) the question I posed to them was one of wondering if the priest and the Levite (if you don’t know who I am talking about sorry, you’ll have to read the story) did what was logical, practical and almost to be expected (what I might do?)…and if it was the Samaritan who did the unheard of act.  If he was the good guy in the story, what does that mean for us and our lives?

Speaking of life reminds me of the garden. The good news is that the lettuce is going strong as are what I am affectionately calling “the world’s largest cherry tomato bushes.” The bad news is, apparently the gardeners (the paid kind) thought the pumpkin and Crenshaw melon patches were just a bunch of dead leaves (which they were) and tore them out, leaves, melons, pumpkins and all…the worst was that one of the 3 “Thanksgiving” pumpkins was just starting to turn orange and look like we might actually get our pumpkin pie from our very own garden. Tommy (7) seemed to rebound better than the rest of us from the tragedy, though he also lost his ‘stick pile’ in the destruction.

Speaking of stick piles, actually, that one doesn’t work… Anyway, the other tidbit to share is that I have links to new photos. These are photos from the Ecuador Photo Project that I helped teach this August (you can see pictures of the students themselves, their work, and pictures from our ‘exhibit’ on the concrete soccer field) as well as the LA Photopiece that I helped to teach this summer (you can see pictures of their work). It has been really fun to be involved in both of these opportunities to combine my love of photography with a desire to spend time with students and help them find their ‘voice’ and realize that they have something to say to the world about their world. This Sunday is considered World Communion Sunday and Christian churches around the world will all be sharing in communion (Eucharist, Lord’s Supper, depending on your tradition) together. As part of that, four of the churches that participate in the Ecuador trip will all be displaying exhibits of the Ecuadorian students’ work, hung on clothes lines, with clothes pins. If you are anywhere near Branford or Hartford Connecticut, or Monson or Weymouth Massachusetts, you should go by and see! If you are somewhere else and you know of somewhere to show the work locally, let me know!

Oh, and not to be negligent on my weather reporting, we actually had rain in Southern California a few weeks back! The first of the season, and according to the rain gauge, 1.5 inches overnight!