Views from the Office and Beyond

Feb. 19

Feb. 19

Snowy Nevada City (redundant?). Notice how well the sign on the New Moon Cafe captures the Sierra-blue sky that greeted us the day after the storm passed.

Feb. 20

Feb. 20

Feb. 3, Superbowl Sunday and Cyrille's 40th!

Feb. 3, Superbowl Sunday and Cyrille's 40th!

Who would guess that this is going on right down the hill in Sonoma? Gnarly, old grape vines in a sea of mustard blooms. Mustard is planted between rows in vineyards to improve the soil's absorption of water and nutrients and to attract insects and birds that eat insects that can damage the vines. Legend has it that the padres who founded the California Missions spread mustard seed along El Camino Real so that the bright-yellow blooms would mark the trail. As a native Californian, I feel conflicted about mustard. It has naturalized so well here that it spreads across entire hillsides, and I remember, as a child, playing in fields of mustard that towered over my head. Unfortunately, mustard is listed as an invasive plant by the California Invasive Plant Council, which means that it negatively affects native plants and ecosystems. We can choose other plants that improve soil structure and attract beneficial insects and birds such as lupine, yarrow, and some clovers and native grasses. More on that later... stay tuned!