Harvest time, Destructo V.4alpha & NorCal

It turns out the little garden we've cultured in a pair of planter boxes at the arch window of our guest-room has been thriving in more ways than one. The fertile soil and strong sunlight germinated every seed we planted weeks ago, producing a cornucopia of fleshy juicy greens which in turn harboured quite a healthy infestation of aphids who must have stowed away on a delivery from the nursery. The aphids were particularly fond of our arugula, parsley & chilli seedlings and they rapidly grew plump while feeding from the largest veins of each new leaf but the small ecosystem we synthesized by "borrowing" 3 ladybugs has responded in kind with momma-bug rapidly evaluating the resource glut as
a prime opportunity to further her family line. After a few days gorging on the basil laced pests, momma-bug laid a dense patch of bright yellow eggs on the underside of a chilli leaf and like a time delay bomb just days later the miniature death machines emerged & we were graced with new crawlies which at first looked like tiny black "alligators". Barely larger than their prey each of the jet black killing machines instinctively sought & wrestled with their aphid foes until they'd fed for a week and amassed enough energy to shed their first post-larval exoskeleton, transmogrifying into the purple & orange aphid-cide "speeders" pictured above. With the newcomers' crazy bright warning decals and take-no-prisoners praxis we've found ourselves
aphid free now for a couple of weeks and have enjoyed numerous meals of fresh nutty lettuce, aromatically seasoned lamb with lots of rosemary and yukon potato mash with both flat and curly parsley. Zoe also baked a magnificent loaf of bread impregnated with french emmenthal, torn prosciutto and a good dose of oregano from our "garden". In a couple of weeks our basil will be abundant (yum!) and we should soon make some effort to harvest the healthy chien hong so we can authentically season a batch of Singapore laksa Lim-style. Ahh simple pleasures .... and hats off to our bugs who help keep the garden healthy Happy
Since last writing it's been a few lazy weekends for the two of us, indulging in lots of
recreational reading, lying the sun, making good use of the beautiful UC Berkeley campus grounds only ~100 metres from our front door and slowly quaffing a fine half dozen reds from Murray Street Vineyards in the Barossa (thanks Matt & Colleen). It's wonderful to wake up in the morning and be greeted by the sight of giant palm trees on our street (50+ metres tall ... no joke!) swaying in the breeze, birds singing and the resident squirrel dozing contently, splayed prone on a bough of the plain tree at our window, staring at us with a docile contented expression .... mirrored by our own. We ventured north last Saturday in search of some sandy beaches and salt water but skipped right past the white stuff and continued on to Point Reyes for a couple of hours, through the incredibly beautiful rolling hills, national parks and countryside in Northern California, along the coastal freeway and seaside towns then back inland with a B-line for a top notch pizza restaurant and wine bar in Larkspur, Marin County.
We're loving the foliage & seasonal diversity here in the coastal regions of California .... and marvelling daily at the novelty of living amongst squirrels, skunks, blue jays and humming birds.
-D