Coffee Share 230128 :: An Early Spring Memo

Good Day. Here in the southern tip of the California Sonoma County Wine country, in the past few weeks we had a pretty good soaking with lots of rain – at least by our standards; but this past week, despite clear astronomical  guidelines that mandates spring start to start in March, it actually started last week. And I have evidence.

  • Our accidental garden is back – things are alive in the mulch pile.
  • Our edible cherry tree is blooming.
  • Our plum tree is blooming.
  • Our ornamental cherry trees are blooming.
  • Our yard is green again.
  • The blue belly lizards are waking up.

But it is an hour or so before sunrise and pretty cold right now, so a good cup of coffee or tea is a wise way to start our catch up, but first:

The full set of Coffee Shares for this week can be found here.

Thanks again for Natalie the Explorer for hosting us.

Evidence for Spring:

We throw any “clean” veggie matter into our ongoing mulch pile. We also have some big hedges and trees about and, at least in spring, we have something that could pass for a lawn if you don’t look too close. All the clippings, mowings, smallish branches, unclaimed fruit, coffee grounds (with their filters) and spent tea leaves all land in our mulch pile. After harvesting a good deal of last years fresh soil for various areas around the house that needed it, I laid down a fresh layer of those giant sycamore leaves and gave the remaining pile a good turn with the pitchfork onto that fresh leaf layer to give it a good start for spring.

Well, the think could not wait for the scheduled spring and burst into fresh growth. What we see mostly are potatoes I think, but there appears to be two onions making an appearance this year and I’m pretty sure there is some mint growing within the potato patch.  Don’t you agree that it all looks pretty spring-like?


The cherry tree gave us very little fruit last year. Even the birds who look forward to pillaging it were annoyed. This year – there will be fertilizer provided because the new blooms look plenty ready for action.


Next up, the plumb tree. This guy has been a challenge each year for various reasons. Last year’s harvest was just okay, but the year before was so large that one very heavy branch broke and with it took close to 20% of our expected crop. The remaining branches are tough and better pruned but we’ve had a long running issue with curly leaf limiting our harvest.   This, chemicals have been brought to bear. There’s a copper-based fungicide that is supposed to deal with the problem but it has to be used when the buds are very young. The tree surprises me by budding so soon so I did a scramble over to the garden store to pick some up and gave the whole tree a good wash-down. It will get a 2nd round in 10 days and finally this year I’m hoping to see a much healthier looking tree with some fertilizer for encourage more fruit.


In the photo above, you can see one new healthy branch sticking out like a, well, healthy branch among the struggling older branches which has hosted the curly leaf fungus up to now. You can also see the new buds anxious to do their thing and be fruitful.

Then there are our ornamental cherry trees that are both transplanted volunteers from the other, darker side of the yard. Since everything else seems to be blooming I went over to inspect these guys and wasn’t too surprised to find that they too are blooming, but they’re several weeks behind the other fruit trees. I had to use the magnifier on my phone to get this shot where you can see the tiny buds.


You can see the green yard behind the other photo subjects and lord knows you’ve seen enough of my lizards’ photos so I’ll pause here to refresh our drinks and move on.

How to hack your pedometer:

Almost everyone I know is trying to pay better attention to their health by counting steps and to do this, one needs a pedometer, either a small device made for this purpose or an app on your phone or even one built into your tread-mill machine. I prefer the non-wifi-able ones that slip easily into your pocket and don’t need you to password your way into your phone each time you want to check your progress.

But man, some days it’s rough trying to get all 10 thousand steps in. I make it a bit easier by having something to think about while treading a path around our patio. As I paced a while back I was thinking about how to get more time to get my steps done and suddenly realized that there was a way to hack the pedometer to count more steps and thus get me done sooner.

It’s the way the device works that suddenly made my walking life easier. But note, this is not a way around doing the actual walking, so I’m not going to tell you to wrap your phone in towels and in a zip-lock bag and throw the bundle into the dryer and then run it with no heat for an hour.  That would be cheating and if you’re not going to do the steps – why bother fussing with the pedometer in the first place

No, this method is both honest to the reason you’re walking and accurate while meeting your quota faster.  I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this sooner, but I just didn’t. the hack is simply to take smaller steps in the same time and across the same track.

For example. I have a preferred path in our backyard that takes me 30 normal steps to complete. By taking slightly shorter steps around the same course in the same amount of time, I get 33 steps for that same course.

No big deal, right?  Wrong. You must recall the multiplier effect in this type of activity.  For me 3 extra steps in a course that normally took me 30 was like getting 10% more steps for free.  So, for the time and effort that it used to take to get my 10 K steps, I only had to walk what felt like 10% less or a full 1,000. It felt like I’d done only 9,000 but that extra 10% put me at 10,000. It felt a bit faster, so was even better exercise for the same distance walked.  Try it. Shorten your steps just a bit for the duration of your walk and note how many this trick adds.

Writing Update: For this week, I have one refresh and reprised story to share from my ‘I Recall’ collection. This story is fun, educational and only a tad scary. It’s called Ballistic Buddies Adventures.

I had planned have one more story refreshed but a good friend who reads my stuff pointed out that a recent reprise was broken. Somehow my previous effort had resulted in a broken article. I was shocked at how bad it was because what I thought I saved and shared was much better. It was as if only parts of my saves actually made it to WordPress. I don’t know what happened, but it took all my new writing time to rebuild that damaged story because whole sections were missing and some paragraphs were repeated in different versions.  Ugh.

But it’s fixed now and if you tried to read, The Second Bully Adventure, I apologize for the mess you encountered and invite you to give it another try. I think the story and fun and imagery are worth it. The whole story wraps around my strained history with a gal who was my first successful girl friend way back in Jr. High School and what happened when a bully threatened her. The fun is in the setup but the bully part turned out different than anyone would have thought possible.  The link is right near the top of this paragraph.

Okay — I think that’s enough from me today.

I’ll be popping in to check out your coffee shares during the weekend.

Blessings all.

GW bio card 4

15 thoughts on “Coffee Share 230128 :: An Early Spring Memo

  1. Yes I’d say spring is well on the way where you are Gary! We’re having a nice summer (finally) and enjoying hot afternoons reading in the hammock 🙂 Lovely to catch up with #wcs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debbie,
      I argued with myself a bit about sharing this because, it’s still so early in the year that the weather could easily change and change it did.
      We got overnight freezing temps and many of the potato plants died. sigh
      On the other hand, two more trees have budded so they still think spring is here.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It does look like spring is almost there. I’ll trade you a little snow – snow does wonders for a water table 😉
    A to step size… Of course 10K is a pretty arbitrary number (it was created for marketing), but it is also a great goal. The whole thing is more about the exercise you are getting. So is doing the same distance with fewer long, intense strides better than short choppy steps, or does the more ups-and-downs give a better amount of exercise? I have no clue, but I walk enough during a typical day that I don’t use a counter.
    Hope you are having a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep – I am just using it as a goal to hit each day. Lacking such a goal I’m too easily caught spending too much time in front of my laptop and not getting enough exercise – and this despite loving to walk and be outdoors. I do think my experimenting with hacking my pedometer by taking shorter steps works, but I also don’t allow self-deception in whether it helps improve my overall health. I just like messing with technology designed to help us measure things like this. That 10K goal does leave me winded which is exactly what I wanted. I do love walking, and almost lost the ability to my back problem of several years ago. Now I appreciate each step and don’t take any of them for granted.
      Thanks for stopping by Trent

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Karen, sorry for my slow response. Work happened.
      But weather also happened. Our overnights went down to freezing and many of the potato plants died.
      California is just plain nuts some times.


    1. Hi Maria – yea – we did, but the following week brought freezing temps and most of the potato plants died. Such are the ways of accidental gardens and the weather weirdness of Calif.


  3. Hooray for fruit trees! It’s been cold here, so ours are still dormant. I love seeing what pops up from the compost pile–and the planting beds. I expect a bumper crop of volunteer basil and green onions this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janet.
      Sorry about my slow response. I blame work for getting in the way of things I want to do.
      Here, we’re still in the week that followed that post and sadly our temps dropped to freezing and most of the potato plants fell over and look pretty dead. Such is to be expected when some fluke of weather tries to start spring early. The onions and the mint look okay and two more (non fruit) trees have bloomed since that post so, except for the accidental garden, the yard looks green and nice again.
      But I’ve kinda blown up my writing routine for the new year. I’m having a hard time getting to my chapter 2 story expansion project and even struggle to progress my re-edit of my I Recall stories.
      I don’t suffer from writer’s block. My challenge is better called writer’s reluctance or distraction.
      Now that covid is fading (THANK GOD) I think I need a local group with real meetings and real people getting in my face to ask me why I’m not trapping all the great story work that is happening between my ears.

      Hey – have you seen the movie “Genius” with Colin Firth? It’s on Amazon Prime and is about a famous writer. I won;t say any more for fear of ruining it – but it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in quite some time – especially for us want-to-be writers.

      Okay – the work of the day is calling and I must attend to it.
      So glad you stopped by.


  4. HI Gary,
    How are you? Sorry I’ve been missing in action. I’ve been away for just over a month and couldn’t work out my WordPress log in on Geoff’s laptop. You can count on me to have technical problems. I’m home now and about to tap into my responsibilties again as Miss heads back to school on Wednesday. I’ve at least bought her a new uniform and washed it.
    Are you concern about the early Spring taking place in your garden re climate change? We watched a few documentaries while we were away which raised concerns but also offered hope. I hope you get a bumper crop this year.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rowena,
      I was beginning to wonder how I might find you if you just disappeared, kidnapped or something worse. But this is how blogging works. It comes with a certain amount of presumed ability to remain anonymous and unreachable. I’ve wondered as I learned my way around blogging what I would do if someone I’d come to care about just disappeared. In the real world, I could knock on her door or give him a call but between bloggers, I might only have the names of some peer friends I could reach out to hoping they had some news as to where a friend had gone off to.
      I too struggle with WP via devices other than my laptop. I can do certain things on my phone, but it’s limited. I also have a tablet which is larger but actually works worse than my phone for blogging.
      Anyway – I’m always glad to get a note from you. I know enough about your world and family that I care and want you all to remain healthy and in that fun state of loving life. When I hear from you, your notes have depth and detail, the stuff that real friendships are built on. I’m sure you, like me, have blogging friends who are too careful about sharing stuff that exposes them to ‘being known” – and thus self-limit themselves to being virtual acquaintances at best.
      It’s all good. I’m a pretty private person in real life but have found that I’m pretty comfortable being a well-known virtual pal via blogging.

      But about that early spring accidental garden. It pretty much does whatever it does just as the weather does. In this case, your fear was predictive. The following week, we had overnight deep chills that sunk past freezing and – yup – some of those potato plants did not survive the beat-down. The trees are a bit tougher and seem to be doing well. Two more trees of different varieties have bloomed and the yard is fully alive again, green and lush. We’re not getting enough rain to solve our drought problems so we’ll be discouraged from watering our yards yet again this summer but with no kids at home now, I can spend their shower water on keeping our redwood trees alive.

      I’m not concerned about climate change because that is what weather does, always has and always will. I’m more concerned about how some like to use climate change to “manage us” into complying with whatever ideas they think we need to act on or pay for. Yep – I’m a proud deny-er of the whole man-made disaster threat here. It’s clear that we can ruin the air or mismanage our water but the planet is tougher that some give it credit for.

      We really do need to get out of California for so many reasons. This state is run by squirrel bait (nuts).
      Sorry for my own delay in responding. Work has kept me from attending to my blogging and writing.
      This too has to stop I tell ya.


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