Some Thoughts at the End of the Year

| December 31, 2014 | 10 Replies

Some thoughts at the end of the year, and how technology has changed my life. ~ My first conscious thought this morning, after the initial recognition that the wind was blowing and I hate wind (unless I’m in Hawaii), was, Walker is never going to live at home again. I had woken at 5:30AM, and had looked out into the dark and saw the trees moving and had crawled back in the warmth of the covers. After an hour of sleepless mindlessness, I rolled over and saw the photo albums and tennis trophies sitting in the glass cabinet. And then it hit me. Again.

Some thoughts at the end of the year - trophies

Tennis trophies, Stanford yearbook, photo albums in glass cabinets

Walker was recruited to Stanford to play tennis in 2009, but, with another son at home, and then later, in 2012, starting this blog and creating “Late Bloomer,” not to mention commencing the greatest education of my lifetime, learning to grow food, I managed to suppress those thoughts. I was busy! Even after graduation in 2013, then again in 2014 after the Masters graduation, I comforted myself with the notion that with an Earth Systems degree, he might find a job in Los Angeles and live at home for a year. But, ironically, or maybe it was meant to be (he said he was influenced by me gardening), he got a job working on a sustainable cattle ranch on the Central Coast of California.

Raising a student athlete is so intense because every moment of middle and high school was for us either traveling to a tennis tournament, and dealing with the highs and lows of match outcome, planning the next tournament, driving to lessons, or, school (he played #1 for five years at Brentwood School). For many years, there was never a family vacation just to relax. We would go to Hawaii, Arizona and Palm Springs (and, of course, Kalamazoo!), but we were there for tournaments. So now, the tennis is history, and the working life has begun, and the break from home has been made. And I’m dealing with that.

Some thoughts at the end of the year - Walker Kehrer

Walker now wears Carhartt, not tennis clothes

When I first had the idea of creating a web show to inspire others to grow food by following my adventure (and hopefully not making all the mistakes I did), I was told, if you have a web series, you have to have a blog, to drive traffic to your YouTube channel. I was aware in 2011 how blogging was taking over the world, and I wanted no part of pouring out my feelings to an unknown audience. (After all, who would care?) I kept my posts brief and to the point, pests, plant diseases, harvests and discoveries. (My most read post is “My Little Lemon Tree.”) Since I’m a pretty good photographer, I relied on images, not so much on words. What I didn’t realize is how technology would change my life.

After initially feeling a little sad this morning, not having another year of Walker and his energy and good cheer in the house, I rolled out of bed and sat up. I took my smart phone in my hands. I just glanced at the notifications, because they are usually others commenting on posts I’ve commented on. But, today they were all directed to me. First, I got my news. My new garden pal, Bob, in North Dakota (our 45° and wind must feel like Hawaiian trade winds to him and his wife Terri who are shivering in 0° temperatures this week), informed me we had an earthquake yesterday with the epicenter 20 miles from here. It struck yesterday afternoon when I was sitting with my Late Bloomer editor, Megan, in Corona del Mar working on a new episode of Late Bloomer (we felt nothing). It’s funny because when I was driving home tired-eyed in the rain and traffic last night, there was a moment when the car shook in ripples and I wondered if that had been an earthquake. Californians try not to focus too much on possible earthquakes or we would go nuts.

Bob is retired and started gardening last year and knocked it out of the park with peppers, eggplant and melon. He’s just published his 7-part 2015 garden plan on his G+ page. The next notification was also from Bob, whose wife had bought him a camera that I wrote him about three days ago. I’d learned about it via email from a New York photographer friend, Jonathan Morse, a terrific photographer, camera collector and book designer who stays on top of the latest in camera and iPhone technology. (I will be shooting the Sony A6000 in the Late Bloomer garden very soon.)

Did you know I shoot all the footage, video and stills, of “Late Bloomer” myself? I have not found the perfect camera that can fill my needs, but the new A6000 from Sony sounds promising. I have to be able to shoot high quality stills as well as video. For three years, I’ve been using the Sony Nex 7.

Some thoughts at the end of the year - Kaye with camera

Kaye Kittrell with Sony Nex 7 and microphone on location in Tennessee

Then, a Google+ connection, Adrian, wrote “You are inspirational!!!” with three emoticons of a clover and two flowers. (If you don’t know what an emoticon is it’s those little images people attach to texts and posts on social media to tell you how they feel.) Another notification was Happy New Years wishes from Valentin on Google+ who lives in Russia and shares videos of exotic birds. Then, someone had liked my Instagram photo (I updated my software before Christmas and now the Instagram app is not working and I haven’t posted anything in over a week, another way technology is affecting my life!)

Some thoughts at the end of the year - notification

Google+ notification on my iPhone

Another Google+ connection wrote, “I love your commentary!!!!” presumably about my latest episode, Part 4 of “Growing Heirloom Tomatoes.” The only thing about getting notifications on your smart phone is, as soon as you swipe it to open, they go their separate ways, back to their own applications, and you have to search websites on your computer or apps on your phone to locate them and see what they were referring to.

Notifications aside, technology has had huge impacts in my life this year. I introduced a blogger I connected with in 2012, Sandi, who happens to be a world-traveling midwife (she just returned from delivering a baby in Thailand), with my nephew photographer Hunter and wife Jillian who are missionaries in Haiti (Jillian’s blog is here), and went there and orchestrated the delivery of their first baby before Thanksgiving, with the help of a midwife-in-training, Erin, who snapped this beautiful shot moments after the birth. I haven’t even met Sandi yet, but we are bonded for life.

Some thoughts at the end of the year - after the delivery

Jillian holding Jake, just after a natural delivery, in Haiti, with Sandi’s shadow on the wall.

Another blogger who has been my great contact and support across the Atlantic, Dallas, whose funny and poignant blog “Crazy Train to Tinky Town” now has thousands of followers (we both started at the same time), instantly retweets my tweets and shares my posts, while working full-time and attending to her Dad, a second-generation gardener of a plot in Devon, England, who recently had a stroke and had to give up his allotment. He is one of my big fans, Dallas tells me, and thinks I’m much better looking than a certain English bloke who has a garden show.

I’ve learned so much from these connections and more this year about fungi (see my enthusiastic posts from Thanksgiving), and more about Monarchs, and no-till gardening (I’m seriously going to save my back this year!) and heirloom seeds, and a LOT about tomatoes (see my five part epic!), all made possible by the internet.

Technology allowed me to be able to take video clips and images and send them over the internet to my editor, to my sound editor, and to my composer, to my motion graphics artist, and back to me. It’s really incredible, and I don’t begin to understand how that’s possible (many thanks to all the tech persons who are so much smarter than me), but I am so grateful as it’s allowed me to have a product “Late Bloomer” which can be inspiring, entertaining, educational (or so I’m told!), and, if I’ve done my job right, sometimes funny.

Speaking of funny, another G+ connection Eric at Double Dog Farm ~ San Juan Island, has me laughing at his video of his dogs eating fresh corn off the cobs. I think they ate the cobs, too! Eric has a beautiful no-till garden and has inspired me to add mycelium to my garden beds this year. My connections have cheered and inspired me to launch into year four with gusto.

Thanks to everyone who has watched, read, followed, liked, shared, laughed, enjoyed, and contributed their talents to “Late Bloomer” this year. You have enriched my life. And those are some thoughts at the end of the year, and how technology has changed my life. Thanks for reading, and I hope you will subscribe to this site, and download my free ebook “10 Steps to a Great First Garden” from the subscribe box and let 2015 be the year you start your great education and grow your own food so you will know what’s in it. Happy New Year! – Kaye

PS – If you are an empty-nester, I highly recommend food gardening! Planting seeds gives hope for the future. I’m soaking seeds to plant tomorrow on New Year’s Day.


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Category: Community, Food Security, Fungi, Garden Musings

Comments (10)

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  1. valentina says:

    Kaye, this is lovely. Happy New Year! xo

    • Thank you, Valentina! My favorite chef/blogger/photographer! Happy New Year!

    • Jon says:

      My first post. Kaye luv your website and videos. My last real gardening experience was 35 years ago. But as of last year i put my feet back in the water and we are planning a substanital expansion this season. Inspired by you and others.

      What prompted me to do my first post was the comments about your son. I also have a student athlete, however the sport is ice hockey.
      consider yourself lucky. Ours was recruited to boarding school in NE
      (a top academic school)at the age of 16. Also , as is common in hockey he went on to play junior hockey this past season and is contemplating yet another season as he tries to turn his many conversations with D1 coaches into a reality. Unfortunately when it
      comes to hockey , it is very typical to have 21 year old freshman.

      However, after reading your post i am reminded “what’s the rush”?
      If he wants to keep pursuing this and it takes another year , well
      better than feeling is was unfinished buisness ,right?

      So often we go back and forth about attending academically one of the schools he has already been accepted to or finishing this to its conclusion way or another.

      Today, after reading your post, i feel like what’s the rush?


      • I’m so glad you commented and thrilled you are getting your feet back into gardening and growing food, Jonathan. Right, I agree, if your son wants it, he should pursue it. Who knows, after he’s had his fill of hockey and gone to college, he may study sustainable agriculture and come out and help you start an urban farm! Some say urban farming/gardening may be a key factor in curbing climate change. The future for our children looks grim if we don’t. My son’s working on a sustainable beef cattle ranch and no one is more surprised than me. Good luck and thanks for your support! – Kaye – PS, I will say not to put too much stock in D1 schools as you want to be able to actually play when you get there and not sit on the bench. 🙂

  2. Sue B. says:

    Kaye, what wonderful words! I simply adore my smart, beautiful and funny sorority sister from way back when! You have so many diverse talents! I keep trying to grow things. My latest is blueberries. I hope they make it through an Ohio winter!! Love you! Sue

    • Thank you Sue! I’m so humbled by your words and really appreciate your support. Blueberries are hard to grow here, so I’m afraid I can’t be much help. Love you! Happy New Year! Let’s get together in 2015, yay, yay, yay!

  3. Sandi B says:

    I’m so glad we are connected for life. I was truly blessed to serve Hunter and Jillian and baby Jake <3

  4. Thanks for this, Kaye! I loved this!

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