Christine at Idora Design bestowed us with the ‘Honest Scrap’ award a while ago, as did Karyl recently at Native Wildlife Gardening. I’ve been very remiss in not yet acknowledging this honor, being rather distracted by our new seedlings, orchard trees, and devastating deer. As I can’t be in the garden at the moment, I wanted to finally sit down and recognize this award.

Honest Scrap

The Honest Scrap award’s roots are bit nebulous, but it is primarily a tool to help fellow bloggers to get to know you…and encourage networking within the blogging community. As a recipient of the Honest Scrap Award, I’m supposed to divulge 10 honest things about myself to help you get to know me, and then nominate 7 other bloggers for the award. I considered skipping the ’10 things’ part, as I’m not all that interesting, and the point really is to direct you toward some other garden blogs I enjoy…but I’ve decided not to be a party-pooper.

You may want to grab some coffee though…ready?

Here goes…

1) Curbstone Valley is run by…a Doctor and an Engineer. “Dammit, Jim I’m a Doctor…not a…” Oh wait…sorry, I digress.  Really, except for the occasional help from friends, it’s just the two of us plotting, scheming and planning around here.

And yes, we’re both Trekkies (not to mention rabid Joss Whedon fans).

2) My best friend is my husband…and I’ve lived with him for more than half my life…somehow he’s survived living with me – and my hair-brained ideas – and believe it or not, we’re BOTH redheads (well, we used to be), so that’s no easy feat! If it wasn’t for his moderating influence, I think I’d scare myself most days. Really, for all I’ve put him through, I should nominate him for sainthood.

It takes two...

3) I’m a transplant. My roots once grew in foreign soil. As a seedling I grew up in the south of England, and spent my summers around Yorkshire and Lancashire with my grandparents, but more than two decades ago, I re-potted myself in California, and I sooo love it here…for one, the growing season is MUCH MUCH longer here…not to mention I found the subject of #2 above!

I lived in England as a sprout (Public Domain Image: NASA)

4) I hate lawns. Actually, that would have been news to me about 4 years ago, but really, living here, I just can’t fathom why any of my last gardens even had them. I know, how can I be a true Brit, and loathe the sight of a manicured green?

Manicured lawns are fine for cricket...(Public Domain Image)

Well, it’s fine for cricket, but I’ve come to realize that I personally loathe mowing lawns, poisoning the environment with chemical fertilizers, or battling moss, just to grow a green carpet, so I can mow it all over again. Does anyone see something really wrong with this picture? And fake grass? Don’t even get me started on plastic lawns. I challenge ye lawn lubbers to stand out in a fallow field in mid-spring, and count the variety and number of birds you see. Then stand in the middle of your lawn (real or plastic), repeat the exercise, and weigh the difference…you get the picture. Don’t worry, I won’t lobby to ban your lawn, I just hope to someday encourage at least one other gardening lawn-slave to see the virtue of replacing their lawn with native, water-wise, wildlife friendly plants.

5) I’m a caffeine-o-holic. Who invented freeze-dried coffee in a can? Ugh! I have standards you know! Must be fresh-ground recently roasted beans, and filtered water. Three to four cups of coffee, every day, MINIMUM…and I’ve been known to consume the entire 12 cup pot, solo. Antioxidants really are good for you…aren’t they? (see #9 below).

Illustration of COFFEA arabica L. 106 (Coffea arabica L., Arabian coffee) Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen in naturgetreuen Abbildungen mit kurz erläuterndem Texte : Atlas zur Pharmacopoea germanica 1883-1914 (Public Domain Image)

6) I hate to read fiction. Can’t stand it…ever since I was knee high to a hedgehog, and drooling all over (a rather young) David Attenborough on the TV. People laugh, but there are so many wonderful things written about the fascinating world around us…nature, science, and gardening books to name a few…why on EARTH would I want to read about something that’s make-believe? So what is my favorite book? Hmmm, tough to pick just one, but a book that’s always been close to my heart, since it was first published, is Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams. My favorite chapter was when Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine were tracking the then highly elusive Kakapo Parrots of New Zealand.  Next time you’re reaching for the Malathion…read it…you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gasp, and you’ll be in awe, just beware of the Komodo Dragon (YES, there are dragons in NON-fiction too!).

Kakapo Parrot (Public Domain Image)

7) For some it’s chocolate…but I have a weakness for…potatoes. Yes, good ol’ Solanum tuberosum. HA! You thought I was going to say wine didn’t you? Really, potatoes. So much so, it’s a bit of a running joke around here. Boiled, mashed, scalloped, baked, roasted, grilled, or fried I love them all! Not that I don’t enjoy occasional haute cuisine, but I have confronted a plate of mashed potatoes, with nothing else on the plate, and called it…divine!

Mmmmm...Mashed Potatoes (Public Domain Image: United States Department of Health and Human Services)

8 ) I have a secret disdain for self-absorbed inconsiderate tourists that insist on visiting BEAUTIFUL, WILD, NATURAL, QUIET places, with their car stereos blaring at 90 decibels, or pulling up in their RV’s topped with giant satellite dishes. Really, it actually makes me angry. If you’re going to travel to visit the beautiful, peaceful, QUIET, wilds of nature…leave the dang TV and stereo AT HOME, and STOP spoiling it for the rest of us! Open your eyes, open your ears, and be in awe of what nature has put before you…or GO HOME! The only things I want to hear in a campground…are the sounds of nature! Hmmm…I suppose it’s not so secret a disdain now…oh well. Did I mention I’m opinionated?

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (Photographer: Mila Zinkova - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)

9) Sauvingnon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, heck even Grenache…but NEVER Chardonnay, if it’s oaked. Yes, well, there did have to be wine in here somewhere, especially as there’s a conspicuous absence of chocolate. If it’s red wine, I’ll try anything once, but in the whites I’m much more picky, I despise heavily oaked-chardonnays. If I want syrupy and buttery, I’ll eat pancakes or waffles. Thankfully I’m not alone, and a number of wineries around here are starting to see sense and are no longer trying to out-oak the other guy’s chard! Hallelujah…and cheers!

Curbstone Valley's Wine Fridge - no oaked chardonnay in here!

10) Lastly, I’m a young breast cancer survivor. Well, I think being cancer free for 12 months counts as survivor, don’t you? I was diagnosed in 2009. Less than 6% of breast cancer patients are under 40 at diagnosis, but I suppose someone has to make up part of that 6%. I’m lucky, it’s just a pothole in the road, life’s too short to dwell on that kind of crap. Maybe I can rename this to be the ‘Honest Crap’ award? I’m now recovering from (what I hope is) my last surgery with ‘Dr. Frankenstein’, and it’s part of why we’ve been a bit slow getting things off the ground here at the farm. Hence, I’m not in the garden for a couple of weeks, right in the middle of prime-planting season, but can’t wait to get my hands back in the dirt.  As gardening is my escape though, that’s the first, and likely the LAST mention of it here on our blog.

Don't worry weeds...I'll be back in the garden soon!

On that note, we now return you to our regularly scheduled programming…

And now the most important part…7 blogs that I’m following and enjoying immensely (nine if you count the two excellent blog writers who nominated us Christine at Idora Design, AND Karyl at Native Wildife Gardening).

Our Happy Acres – Excellent practical gardening tips, recipes, photos, even soap making!  Just the right dash of humor too!  The recipes are awesome…really, try the rosemary roasted sweet potatoes! Oh, there I go again…

Town Mouse & Country Mouse – the Town and Country Meeces are like-minded native gardeners close to us here, and I so love reading their blog.  We share a climate, and many similar plants and goals with our gardens, and I’m taking notes on their greenhouse plans…shhhhhhh…don’t tell Mr. Rat!

A Year in a Gippsland Garden – A wonderful blog from down under (does that make me up-an’-over?)  I have rose envy…really…really I do, and I love learning about weird and wonderful plants we don’t have here!

Bush Bernie’s Garden Blog – Another ‘down under’ blog…but here I have mega wildlife envy.  Just once…ONCE…I’d love to see a Wallaby on my patio, or find a tree frog in my loo. Now you’re intrigued, huh?

Rooted in California – Wonderful posts, and makes me realize all the things I should have grown in our last garden, instead of TWO wretched lawns…I’m now trying to redeem myself by reading and learning as much as I can from Brad’s blog.

The Enchanted Earth – Meredith is a witty, reflective and insightful gardener, FOCUSing this year on our Enchanted Earth…

GreenForks – A beautiful blog from Britain, that reminds me of the plants and animals from home.  I’m really hoping Mr. Pigeon is flyin’ straight now…(you’ll have to read the blog to find out who Mr. Pigeon is!)

Now, if you’re done checking out these wonderful blogs…what are you sitting in front of the computer for?  Don’t you have some seeding or planting to do? It’s spring!!!