Spring time in the mountains

When I actually had grass growing in my backyard a few years ago


I just finished reading the Bucolic Plague and it has me in the mood for spring time! This book is so great, about restoring an old farm just outside of New York City, it makes me want to get out in my yard and start planting things and doing creative things like making hard cider and my own vinegar. Also check out Farm City if your looking for a good book on growing your own vegetables… and umm.. slaughtering your own hogs. No really it is an excellent book!

Luckily for me, springtime is here! I can smell it in the air! Okay, maybe what I smell is more hickory burning in my wood smoker then flowers in bloom, yet here we are in the last week of April and it feels like spring in this rural mountain town. There are still two feet snow berms where my parents live in the more densely forested areas of Running Springs, but here in Deer Lick the snow is gone, replaced by patches of grass and a few poppies in bloom in my backyard. Even my half dead Gala Apple tree has a few buds on it. I so wish it was a Winesap Apple tree; the only apple I really enjoy.
I can’t wait another week until I can officially start gardening again. I love the first week in May; the first week of spring mountain time and Kentucky Derby week! Mother’s Day is officially the first day of spring in the San Bernardino Mountains. Mother’s Day is when we can usually expect no more snow and mountain gardeners can trek down to Lowe’s in the flat lands below and purchase the first of the springs Columbines, Hollyhocks, and spring time vegetables. Every year I try to grow my own vegetables, and most years I fail. The first few years we lived in this house my garden was at its best. I actually had a little lawn in the backyard, and my sunflowers were four feet high! I had a strawberry patch and even a few little summer squash. Maybe it was the meth fumes from my neighbors in the house next door. Maybe they gave my soil exactly the nutrients it needed? Who knows, all I know is I really do not have a green thumb like my mother, but I love to try! I planted a flat of Rosemary everywhere a few years ago, and that comes back every year. Plus I have this mystery plant I bought at Walmart, fifty cents on clearance four years ago. Now the pretty purple flowers on this bush are everywhere in my yard, but besides that most things I plant don’t survive. I do have daffodils all over, the only thing the gophers won’t eat. They are poisonous to animals if ingested. They don’t really seem to deter the gophers from all my other plants that I do briefly keep alive. I’ve tried various different things to get rid of the gophers and nothing seems to work. I even shoved cat poo down the gopher holes. This is not recommended in the steps to trap a gopher, but it was a spur of the moment decision. I think now is the time to buy some proper traps or contact the experts. It’s too bad my cats are inside or I’d let them go after the ballsy gophers, who actually crawl out of their holes and watch me pulling weeds. These gophers have wreaked havoc every time I plant something in my yard and it’s about time I get some sort of repellant from X Pest or similar pest control manufacturers.


Cornflowers coming back after winter’s snow


On this warm April day I’m working on my tan in my backyard. I think my buddy Neo who owns the restaurant across the street is talking about me. I distinctly heard the word

los pantalones
Some times I think it would be so nice if my house were actually tucked away in the forest, not on a hilltop overlooking the highway and all the loud traffic below. And my neighbors gossiping about my “pantalones” or lack there of. Its my day off dammit, and its spring time. If I want to run around my yard all day in a bathing suit I will. I DO WHAT I WANT!
My cats think its spring time as their squirrel friends have returned. We haven’t seen a squirrel in at least a year and now we have a few in our big pine tree out front again. Our friends in Virginia had so many squirrels in their tree in their backyard that they found a tree removal company (apparently just by searching the internet for “tree removal Roanoke“) and had the tree removed. Sounds a bit drastic but apparently the squirrels were causing all sorts of problems. I understand that, as they love to torment my cats. I love to torment my cats by shaving them to look like Lions when they start to get hot, about mid May. WE have no air conditioning up here in our mountain home. The cats may not enjoy being shaved when I’m doing it, but they are happy afterwards!

Pacific Crest Trail

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View of Holcomb Valley in the distance

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As I’m relaxing in my lawn chair in the sunshine I just watched the coolest little lizard sliver past me. I actually thought it was a snake for a minute because his legs completely disappear in the leaf piles that are covering my baby seedlings. I wish my camera was nearby. I’m kind of glad its not a snake; I had enough experiences with rattlesnakes last summer to last a few years. I like lizards, they don’t eat my plants.

Alicia and I went on the first hike of the spring today, up to Cougar Crest Trail in Big Bear. I have always heard about this trail, but never had a chance to check it out before. We drove up to Big Bear in the early morning, a great idea, by the time we turned around hours later other hikers and joggers had joined us on the trail. We hiked a total of about six miles, and I wasn’t even tired when we headed back! I wish I could have stayed out longer, but working five days a week, I have no free time and a ton of errands to accomplish on my few days off. This hike turned out to be really pretty. When you crest the mountain two miles in, you have an amazing view of the whole Big Bear Valley, and Mt San Gorgonio in the distance. The view is breathtaking with the sun shining on the water and the snow capped mountain. As we made are way farther into the San Bernardino National Forest the view is the other side of the forest, mostly overlooking the dessert. We had a view of a boron (Not Borat) mine in the distance, close to Holcomb Valley. Holcomb Valley is a ghost town in the middle of nowhere. More gold was taken out of Holcomb Valley in the late 1800’s then anywhere else in Southern California. In 1860 the town of Belleville was formed here named after Holcomb Valley’s founder William F Holcomb. Belle was his first child. At the time Belleville was one of the largest towns in the area, nearly 10,000 people. Belleville was almost named the county seat, its amazing to think kit was the third largest town in Southern California at the time, and now its, well, gone. A few buildings still stand. I actually haven’t been back to Holcomb Valley since my early 20’s, I heard one of the recent wildfires burned through that area, and I’m hoping to get back that way soon to see whats left. Cougar Crest Trail crosses the pacific Crest Trail about 2 miles up. The Pacific Crest trail goes for thousands of miles between Mexico and Canada, I can’t wait to hike more of it!
I was so distracted by the six mile hike, photo shopping pics, making a grocery list with only cheese products on it and ignoring my screaming cats I completely forgot to BBQ the pork tenderloin I bought for dinner! This might explain why I’m such a smelly girl… The cheese list, not the forgetfulness.


  1. 3rseduc / handsinthesoil

    Gardening is on my agenda this week or next. I can grow oregano very very well, too bad Mike and Josh are allergic. Strawberries and rosemary and thyme do well as do grapes. I longingly desire for my blueberry bushes to be more than sticks with a leaf each year 🙁

  2. 3rseduc / handsinthesoil

    I was telling Mike and Josh about Holcomb and Belleville except I couldn’t remember the name and the exact facts so I sounded like a bumbling idiot “there was this town but its gone it was in Holcomb Valley and it snowed or was it an earthquake? And everyone moved but it would have been the capital….no….the…whatever the capital of the county is but now it is San Bernardino. What was that damned town called?”. No one believed me.

  3. Amber

    Lol, I havnt been back there since I was like 18. Wouldnt it be a different world if the state capitol was in the mountains? I’m going to pick up some plants on Sunday. Did you hear Deerlick Lumber went out of business? I’ll miss oreo the cat!

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