Why I Garden #20

Narrow-Winged Damselfly

Not all the color in our garden is from flowers and leaves. We have an ever-changing circus of insects crawling and flying through our yard. One colorful visitor that I have been watching for several weeks is a Narrow-winged Damselfly with a flashy blue thorax and tail. I'm not sure exactly which species it is, though it looks like an Arroyo Bluet to me.

Tiny House vs. McMansion

I clearly remember wanting a room of my own as a teenager. I settled for a room in the finished basement of our family home. Austin Hay of Santa Rosa, CA has gone well beyond my teenage aspirations and is building his own Tiny House. As Austin tours his 130 sq. foot home built on a double axle trailer he notes that it is less space to clean and will have a small carbon footprint. Austin's Tiny House brings up a question, 'How big a home does a person need?'

LED Vs. Halogen at Sundown

LED (left) & Halogen (right) floodlights

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and rising electricity rates.' Mr. Franklin didn't have an electricity bill to pay, but he was definitely a frugal man. In my quest for lower electrical bills and fewer burnt-out bulbs I found a replacement for outdoor halogen flood lights.

Ballet in the Pasture & Building Local Food Systems

Joel Salatin and Hen

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms and Tom Delehanty of Pollo Real Ranch discuss local food systems at two public events presented by the Carbon Economy Series.

What: Building Local Food Systems - Talk & Panel Discussion with Joel Salatin and Tom Delehanty
When: Friday, August 26, 7-9pm
Where: NM School for the Deaf, James A. Little Theatre, 1060 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM
Tickets: $10 at CarbonEconomySeries.com

Embrace the Sweat

Riding in the heat of summer sometimes means 'embracing the sweat'. But, there are ways to reduce your exposure to record-breaking heat. Cycling early or later in the day, stay well hydrated, and slowing your pace will help you keep cooler. Wear well-ventilated, wicking clothes in light colors, and bring a change of clothes when bike commuting. Acclimatizing to heat will also help your comfort and performance as you bike through the summer.

Burning Ring of Fire

Las Conchas Wildfire Smoke Plume

Are large and frequent wildfires in the Western U.S. becoming the 'New Normal'? That's an unsettling thought, but new research and recent experience point to a smokier future in the West. The basics are this: 100 years of fire suppression have created overly dense forests, and climate change and drought encourage hotter and larger wildfires.

A Royal Mess

Pitting Cherries

I made a royal mess for Father’s Day. For EcoDaddyo’s first Father’s Day, we made a cherry pie. I would love to claim all the credit for its deliciousness but pitting 2-3 pounds of cherries was a messy two person job.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Bicycles)

Southwest Chief - Lamy, NM Train Station

The Iron Horse (aka. train) shaped much of the modern Western US. Despite that history, most of us now travel long distances by car or plane because of the supposed convenience. I've flown and driven across the country countless times, so I wanted to try something new. For a trip from Santa Fe, NM to Kansas City, MO I traveled by bicycle and passenger train. The trip went smoothly and was much lower carbon than either automobile or passenger jet. I'm now a fan of train travel and hope that train travel in the U.S. can be improved.

Why I Garden #19

Raspberry - Rubus idaeus

We've had an interesting summer so far. With the hot and dry weather some plants have suffered while others have thrived. I've focused so much attention on the plants that needed help I almost forgot to mention the Raspberries. Two years ago we planted raspberry canes from a friend's grandmother's garden. The first year's crop was small as the canes were still establishing. This year we've had a steady stream of raspberries to eat on cereal, with dessert or fresh picked. The fresh raspberry season appears to be coming to an end, so here are my thanks for the last raspberry.

WWOOF Hawaii - Blog from the Big Island

WWOOF Hawaii - Tropical Fruit

Here is the latest post from Sara J, our intrepid WWOOF'er in Hawaii. Enjoy!

    I am now on Big Island and the weather is great! I’m on a small permaculture farm, only about 3 acres. It is a half mile from Kealakekua Bay in south Kona. We are off the grid and the land and animals provide about 90% of the food I eat. I’ve been here a few weeks and am falling in love with the place. Everyday there is beauty and joy in working the land and being with the animals, but there are also challenges and a lot of heavy labor to be done.

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