Sunday – Los Angeles! Back at last! But only for 20 hours. I flew in from Durham and touched down at 2:00pm Pacific time, having left there at 5:30 am local time. I’ve got to get a taxi, get home, put everything into the washing machine, grab the hiking boots and other gear, and repack. Got to go to my office and deal with some paperwork. But most urgently, I have to go and check on the garden (hence the misleading title of this post).
One of the drawbacks of summer travel as an academic is that it ruins ones garden. I left at the beginning of July with a nice arrangement of tender young vegetable plants about a foot tall. Tomatoes (six varieties), peppers (two varieties), cucumbers (two varieties, eight plants), zucchini (=corgettes; two varieties, four plants), runner beans (four plants), and string beans (four plants). Those are the main ones anyway.
In anticipation of being away for four weeks in Durham and another three away at another workshop (see next post), I spent several days designing and building a drip irrigation system that runs under the surface of the ground and drip drip drip drips away for a little while each evening. I spent several hours crawling under the house (rather like in the recent scary movie “The Descent”, but without the creatures and the rockfall…go see it) running wires to set up a centralised electronic controller of the values that connect the entire system to the water main.
This was to stop everything being fried by the heat in my absence, while not placing undue burdens of duty on my busy wife, who’ll be going to her own conferences, and who’s not really interested in gardening (well, not the task itself, but she likes the results. And she has agreed that while she’s home she’ll support-tie the various plants as they get taller and bear fruit.).
Did it work? Was it worth it? Yes! Look at the pictures to see what I mean. I took a few in a hurry, but only after it got dark so had to use the flash, so they’re dreadful shots.
Now I have a new problem. I’m not going to get to pick and eat any of this stuff, as I have to jump on a plane. So I hope that someone will eat them…..
In addition to pruning everything in sight, both in the vegetable garden and for the ornamental plants (I’ve been experimenting with lots of drought-tolerant native or native-like plants, and so almost everybody is happy with the heat), I had one more task. Driving around the city trying to find a hard suitcase. You’ll see why later. Now, you know all those luggage stores that you see everywhere in your city, and you wonder who needs all that luggage? Well, they disappear when you actually need them. I drove around for three hours until everything useful closed (Sunday) and had no luck. Only a few soft cases of the right size, but not what I needed.
Monday – Taxi coming at 10:30am to take me to the airport. More pruning, and then I prepared a list of places I got from Google Local which supposedly have luggage, and will all open at 9:00am. I have not packed yet, but off I go again, in a quest to find the hard case. At 9:45am, over in West Hollywood (20 minutes away from home using my routing), I found it. Not in a fancy luggage store, but in this great little shop run by this friendly shoe-and-luggage fixing guy who a room around the back full of old suitcases. Another five minutes giving him $50 for the excellent case we found, perfect for my purposes and I’m back on the road to home to pack, hoping that the taxi does not come early as they do when you have not finished packing.
What did I need this case for? You’ll see that in the next post.