Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Beauty of Pollination

Because we are in the middle of Spring, I thought I would share this amazing footage of pollination.  It's a beautiful process to watch....enjoy.
The Beauty of Pollination

Tuesday, March 20, 2012




Saturday, March 3, 2012

THE GREAT SINGING CANINES singing for spring

There are so many different things that go on here at Bell Hallow.....We now have our own chorus line.....two special singers that continue to reach different notes in sinc for different reasons....They  sing a few notes to other wild animals coming down stream, join the church bells on Sunday morning, and sing to the harmonica. The lead singer is Tolinka, with backup singer Two Step.  Of course being the pup, Two step is favorite for the high notes.........
 Thankfully, their songs are short and sweet.

These Song Dogs are verbal in their own way.  They talk in low voices, they don't bark unless there is a stranger around, four legged or two legged, and have an understanding of the English vocabulary that is like having a conversation with another human.  They will answer you in THEIR own native tongue so you have to learn their language too.  :-)

Hmmm  Interesting how that works!


Good morning everyone,
Now here is a helpful hint:
Before making a reservation at Bell Hallow, check out my web site,, and "click" on "Helpful Hands."  Then  "click" on "Activities and Exploration."  These links are all about events here in my little valley, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the City of Santa Cruz.  Beaches, live theater, concerts, parks, etc. They are wonderful, informative links.

This season, Bell Hallow has some new additions that have arrived and will be arriving by summer time.

Bell Hallow is the home of 8 very friendly hens, (and yes, they all have names...posted earlier) and one friendly rooster.  This means good morning wake up songs from “The General,” and fresh organic eggs from his “girls” every morning.  Oh so yummy.  These gals are laying in total, blue, brown, dark brown and white eggs.  It is so colorful.   My "children" friends love to visit, feed them by hand, and collect fresh eggs in the “Hen Taj.”   Some of these kids will spend a half an hour just sitting there watching these birds as they scratch around.     

Did you know chickens are cousins to the Tyrannosaurus Rex?
By May, I will have honey bees which means organic honey come this fall.  I can’t wait.    
Did you know that honey NEVER spoils? 
 Meanwhile, in another month I will be planting my heirloom tomatoes, about 24 different varieties, green onions, garlic, zucchini, chives, cilantro, parsley, peppers, pumpkins, lemon cucumbers, peas, sweet potatoes, and other succulent veggies and berries in the garden.  I want to make a tipi structure for the beans and  peas to climb. This is going to be a magical spot to sit, pick and eat while listening to those busy honey bees fill their back pockets with pollen to make honey.  Ther are going to be REALLY busy this season. 

 I am in the process of building and planting an herb garden as I write.  After doing a bit of research, I decided to make a Medicine Wheel Herb Garden.  Pictures and more detail to come when it's complete. 
This is going to be a very busy planting season here at Bell Hallow and a really fun harvesting season come fall.  At that time I will have this years olive crop to brine, honey, fresh eggs, herbs, veggies and berries....all organic.  Sounds like Bell Hallow is turning into a little farm...Happiness is fresh organic from your own garden.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


 Meanwhile out in the gardens........
this magnificent Hawk  is watching all of the ground level activities.........He had parked himself outside the dinning room window just long enough for me to get a quick shot of him.

The daffodils are pushing their way up to the open air and some are actually getting kissed by the spring time sunshine.   Did you know.......the narcissus bulb which includes jonquils, and paperwhites is a natural deterrent to gophers, deer and rabbits.  I think this is so cool.  Plant them in the fall, and in the spring you get a beautiful surprise.   These bulbs send an out odoriferous fragrant message throughout the ground, that they are toxic.   The toxicity in the bulbs irritate the soft tissue in the mouth and cheeks.  Gophers don't like this, thus hightail it out of the area where these bulbs are planted.  I marvel at natures perfection.

The Quince are in full dress and    bursting like there is no tomorrow.  They are outrageously beautiful this year.   Back in history and lore, the ancient Greeks considered the quinces to be the symbol of fertility and dedicated them to the Goddess of Love.
This one grows next to the Cottage at Bell Hallow.

An Athenian wedding tradition of the ancient Greeks had friends and family tossing quinces into the bridal chariot (look out, incoming) as the groom was escorting his new bride to her new home.  Once they arrived, the bride ate a ceremonial cake flavored with honey and sesame.  To insure fertility, she was then presented a quince.  Oh the folk lore and legends....This quince lives by the pool.  It is so thick with bloom it's hard to imagine there is room enough for anything inside this shrub....however I found it was thick with BUZZING honey bees.

The  Rhododendron are beginning to pop.  I just love the different stages they go through...from the very tight buds,to the open bloom.   There are 27 species that are native to North America. 
The family Ericacea, of which the genus Rhododendron falls, also includes heathers, mountain laurels, blueberries and cranberries as well as manzanita, trailing arbutus, madrone, huckleberry, blueberries and a number of other genus. They are referred to as the KING OF SHRUBS......

Who would have thought...Rhodies are related to blueberries?  Rhodie bud pie....I don't think so.  I wouldn't eat the Rhodie!  

These plants usually bloom in April....and it's only the 1st of there you have it.     We had virtually no winter, and spring is springing early according to the blooms in my garden.  ......It will be interesting to see what the rest of this years seasons do.....
Enjoy your spring everyone.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bell hallow has added a new member to the American Indian Dog from Song Dog Kennels in Selma, Oregon.  Kim Laflamme has been bringing these dogs out of extinction for over 45 years.  They are an amazing primitive mutt that was used by our native peoples to hunt, watch over the young children and elders.  They pulled travois,  protected the family and was their trusted pet.   To learn more about these amazing canines go to  These dogs are not for everyone, but if they fit your life style and you can be the alpha pack member, they are truly a treasure.  They are loyal, inquisitive, intuitive, creative, thinking dogs.  Those of us that have them often think of them as "medicine dogs."  They just seem to know what's on your mind.  Today they  work in search and rescue, therapy, and numerous other activities.  They have become Frisbee champs, agility champs, and are clocked in the top 4 fastest canine  runners. 
 Here is a photo of "Tolinka Two Moon," my first American Indian Dog.  He is now two years old and full of adventure.  They are wonderful hiking, camping, and personal companions.

TOLINKA means flapping ears of a coyote.  TWO MOON is in his name because of his piercing golden eyes.

 They are about the same size as a boarder Collie.

CHARLIE TWO STEP......9 weeks old
May I introduce Charlie Two Step.....  He has learned so much in the few days I have had him.....navigates stairs, retrieves the ball, responds to his name, sits on command, and is a total foodie.  Training him is going to be real interesting and tons of WILL do anything for it.  Two Step was named so by my grand daughter and fits him to a "T."  So Welcome Two Step.  So glad to have you here.

Tolinka at 3 months

Two Step at 3 months
Here are Tolinka and Two Step at the same age.  The subtle differences they display as pups will probably change drastically as Two Step matures. 

Getting to know Boo Two, the one eyed cat.
 Here, Two Step is meeting Boo Two and, thankfully, being respectful.  BUT just for good measure, Boo Two did take a gentle swipe at Two Step after this photo was shot.

Now Two Step is a year old....all grown up.  He has been dubbed "Side Wall" because he is usually at my side.

  He has been given the fine nick name of "Clown Dog" ....... because he is IS........