Mary’s Garden

What is it about tending a garden: growing your own flowers or vegetables, picking fresh herbs and feeding neighborhood birds, that feeds a person’s soul?

it transcends gender, color, nationality, age, even knowledge, ability and opportunity. Even in the smallest apartments in the busiest cities a plant or two patiently sits near a window, basking in the sun waiting for their weekly watering and hoping for a dash of plant food.

Mary_Garden_peas_pot_snail_PhotoMatix1330-1-1Simple garden pleasures: textures, colors, light


Mary’s Guard Garden


A charming birdhouse decorates Mary’s garden acting as a perch for birds waiting their turn at the bird feeder. Nestled in the flowering tree just behind the birdhouse, the feeder sports 6 tiny perches for finches and other small birds. The doves, robins, infrequent pigeons and visiting migrators partake at the shallow clay bowl sitting on the garden wall

Spring Greens!

Spring Greens @ Beyond Bok Choy Farm


This is my favorite time of year in SoCal. The farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh greens! This year I found a new favorite farm located in Fresno. It’s family owned and operated and they bring in a wide variety of very generous bunches of leafy greens and many other herbs and veggetables at great prices. Right now, all greens and herbs are $2/bunch.

I found Beyond Bok Choy produce at the Sunday, Long Beach farmers’ market, but I think they are at various markets. Their offerings are so varied it’s like alphabet soup using nearly every letter starting at the beginning: beats, carrots and daikon with green tops ready for a quick sauté in avocado oil with a shy splash of sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to finish it off. Try starting by tossing in some onions, garlic, very thin carrot sticks and a fist-full of cashews and fresh cilantro to top it off for a complete vegetarian, vegan meal. Yes, yes, get the delicious fresh baked, whole grain bread at the vendor across the way and toast it. Now you have a complete meal.


Beyond Bok Choy offerings:

HERBS: lemon basil, pepper basil, thai basil, cilantro, dill, mint, lemon grass…and more

GREENS: bitter melon, bok choy, chili leaf, dandelion leaves, mustard greens, Okra leaf, Malabar spinach, ong choy = water spinach, Sweet potato leaf … I think I missed a few.

VEGGIES:  green beans, chard, Chinese broccoli, cabbage, carrots + tops, cucumber, daikon + tops (very large white radish), curly kale, Lecanto kale, onions, zuccini…and much more


baby bok choy

Bok choy is great for stir-frying. Very subtle flavor. Toss in at the very end of sauteing.




Bzzzzz be kind to bees

One of the most disturbing crises in
the world is growing unnoticed

Some people might even be happy about it. If you have ever been stung by a bee, you’re probably cautious and shoo them away. If you have been stung many times, you may have little love for them. However, our existence depends on bees.

Africa 2013

Bees at Big Bear Lake California

For several years, the science world seemed stumped by this conundrum. There were studies and research and excellent documentaries filmed, yet all of the data seemed to have left researchers unable to solve the mystery of why bees kept dying out by the millions, great hive die-outs, beekeepers loosing entire bee businesses.

I watched bee documentaries as if I were watching horror movies

And so should you. Without enough bees, our fruit and vegetable industries will also die-out. One documentary focused on a pear orchard in China. The bees in the area vanished. Pear trees rely on bees pollinating their blossoms in order for them to turn in to a fruit. The decades old family pear business relied on hand pollinating the blossoms, not something the younger generation was interested in, nor could the venerable generation do it all alone. At 68.84 Chinese Yuan, $10 US per pear, it is easy to see how that would not be a sustainable family business. Now, multiply that by a worldwide crisis. It’s in progress.

For any meat eaters who don't care about vegetables or fruits

…what will the ranchers feed their cows, chickens and hogs?

We don’t often notice what’s not there, but think back to your childhood and how many bees tormented you while playing in your yard. How many have you seen in your yard and neighborhood lately? Pay attention. You won’t see many.

If you pay any attention at all to the food or flower industries, you can probably guess what’s killing millions of bees every day… (Take a moment to consider this), It’s obvious. Farming industries around the world depend on pesticides to kill insects from ruining their crops. Well, bees are insects. Millions of bees are delivered around the US in huge trucks to farms that don’t have enough bees for their crops. These farms use pesticides, which is one of the reasons why they don’t have their own bees. The portable bee keeper businesses have unwittingly delivered their little soldiers to their own deaths, then they scratch their head wondering: How did this happen? Isn’t it obvious?

What are we going to do about it?

Easy fix

Every farm from small family farms to huge commercial farms should be required to maintain their own bee hives onsite. This would require a pesticide-free and largely chemical-free farming process. Does this seem like too much to do to save the bees and the Earth…our existence? If this sounds dramatic to you, go ahead, do your own research then pass on what you’ve discovered.




Vintage Autos Bodie CA

I set out for Yosemite with my new Nikon D750. On the way I stopped in Bodie a historic ghost town: A must see historic site of an old gold mining town. If you’re planning to go, be sure to take the back-road. The turn-off is at Mono Lake. It’s a little rugged, dusty and desolate, but worth it. It’s best if you have an SUV, but in a pinch a rental car works just fine.
I used Photomatix Pro for the treatment of these photos.

When I want to have some fun and don’t want to fidget with a lot of settings, overlays and tweaks, Photomatix is definitely a great option. It’s best known for it’s HDR processes, but it has many pre-made and fully adjustable presets. You can also make and save your own presets for uniformity of image groups.