Life Style & Travel

Irresistible Temptations

UNITED STATES—As Americans, many of us would like to believe we have the ability to not indulge in temptations that could be potentially bad for our health. For me, its sweets, however, I’m not always craving something sweet, but I do like baked goods at times, particularly cake and fresh cookies. Let me be clear I’m not the person...

Fruit From Non Fruit Trees

fruit
UNITED STATES—Those of us who grew up with the old fashioned stone fruit orchards or vineyards might remember some of the traditional methods for protecting the ripening fruit from birds. Mulberry trees were grown on the corners of some orchards to keep birds well fed and less hungry for the ripe orchard fruit. Mulberry cultivars were selected to ripen...

First Forays

UNITED STATES—So here we were, after two days in the country. We took a depopulated bus. Hey, it was a Sunday and we would learn that Madrid is in summer mode. People leave the city. The siesta is religiously observed, in the land where the siesta was invented, due to the torrid climate. The banks close at 2 p.m....

Summer Dormancy Is No Mystery

dormancy
UNITED STATES—California buckeye, Aesculus californica, is an enigma. How does it survive while defoliated for so much of the year? Not all are so mysterious. Those that live in sheltered or forested situations behave like normal deciduous trees, by defoliating in autumn, and refoliating in spring, after a brief winter dormancy. Those that are more exposed in warm and...

Arrival In Madrid

UNITED STATES—Finally, just after nine in the hot clear morning, the bus curled around the overpass to the housing development 50 kilometers north of Madrid, where I'd spent two wondrous days. It left Fernando free to go back to his chores and Carmen and I were off to the city, passing through a number of smaller cities and developments....

Vegetables Change With The Seasons

vegetables
UNITED STATES—Right smack in the middle of the warm part of summer, it is already time to be getting ready for autumn gardening. This involves more than just ordering our autumn planted spring bulbs while the selection is still optimal. Most of us purchase bulbs from what is available in nurseries when they are in season anyway. Seed that...

A Poetic Journey

UNITED STATES—Since being on the airplane to Madrid, I'd reencountered poetry. I grabbed a few scraps from the shelf above my desk because we were going to read at a literary bar on Tuesday night. Already on the airplane, I took a few poems and did something to them I had not done in a long time, if at...

Docile Annual And Perennial Vines

vines
UNITED STATES—Most of the familiar vines really are exploitative bullies. They shade the same trees and shrubs that they climb for support. Some will even strangle and kill those who make it possible to get where they want to be. If they do not find trees or shrubs to victimize, they are likely to climb walls and ruin the...

More Spanish Pages

UNITED STATES—After lunch, the jetlag, wine, swordfish and potato salad suddenly caught up with me. I was nodding off and falling over onto our driver showing us the lakes and the blue rugged mountains that evoked the Western majesty of the San Fernando Valley. Fernando pointed out one craggy face. "A lot of mountaineers rappel up that side. A few...

Summer Perennials Are Now Blooming

summer perennials
UNITED STATES—Are warm season annuals really the most colorful flowers for summer? Perhaps. They have their limits though. They are also very demanding. They need to be watered very regularly, and should probably be fertilized too. Many need to be deadheaded frequently. After all that, they are only temporary, and will get replaced with cool season annuals in autumn....
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