We live in Santa Cruz, California, one of the areas where the Monarch butterflies gather after their migration, and we regularly see Monarchs in our garden. Their populations have been declining drastically. Scientists have said that planting milkweed would help, since Monarchs require milkweed for their life cycle. They lay their eggs on the milkweed and the young feed on the toxic plant, making the caterpillars undesirable to birds other prey. Planting milkweed also provides flowers for bees and other butterflies as well. So we added some milkweed to the garden this year.
We ramp up the flavor on may dishes by adding garlic olive oil. It makes a great substitute for butter and is a healthy alternative. We make it ahead and consider it part of the routine of stocking the pantry. By leaving the garlic in the oil, we also have sauteed garlic, or garlic confit, ready to use.
We just realized how easy it is to grow Shiitake mushrooms at home. The mushroom log is sold with mycelium plugs in it.
- Step one … soak the log in cold water.
- Step two… wait.
Just after a rain is a perfect time for photographing mushrooms in the Santa Cruz hills. We only hunt them for photographs, and are not foraging.
We have planted lots of flowering plants that attract hummingbirds and now have a variety of different colored birds that visit the yard. We try to provide natural food for them instead of using a hummingbird feeder.
We visited the Hakone Gardens at the perfect time to see the cherry blossoms. A beautiful example of a Japanese garden.
On a trip through Europe, we spent a few days in Strasbourg, France. The city is gorgeous. The leaves were changing color and the town is surrounded by a canal, bordered by half timber houses and lots of trees, so it looks beautiful in the fall.
These are some of Tony’s best photos of seabirds taken in Santa Cruz, California. Many of them are from Seacliff State Beach.