Better to use an LED than curse the power company. That may not be the original saying, but it works pretty well for today. We've had good luck with CFL 'bulbs' around the house, yet technology marches on and LED lights are becoming better and cheaper. I just replaced two failed CFL's* with new LED '60 Watt Equivalent' bulbs. CFL's would have been cheaper to buy, but I'm betting on the longevity and other benefits of LED.
I processed so many apples through this kitchen that it felt like an outpost of Motts on some days. People, it was a fruitful year and our pantry now overfloweth.
Our own apple tree did well this year and whatever EcoBaby didn't yank off the tree (mostly things on the lower branches) we thoroughly enjoyed. Ecobaby was the best consumer of our garden products. She is still yanking freeze dried little grapes off the vine and gnawing on them.
Frankly, the garden and I need a rest. I love a full season of planting, watering, weeding and harvesting. And I love the end of that season just as much. We had our first hard freeze several days ago and I'm happy to look out on a mostly dormant garden. I did expand the cold frame and will be planting hardy greens (Arugula, Mustard Greens and Spinach) to go with the Kale and Chard that have survived the freeze without complaint. I still need to mulch a few beds and will be turning the compost one last time this season.
Once again this summer I looked into the garden and saw new flowers on plant that hadn't bloomed before. Despite the ongoing drought the Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium) that we planted a few years ago decided to blossom. Scores of small, white, rose-like flowers with yellow centers popped up between the lacy foliage. Here is one more native plant that has thrived in our arid Southwestern climate with little to no attention.
The longer I garden the more I appreciate tough plants. Between the hot, dry summers and cold winters finding plants that can flourish in Santa Fe is tough. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is another tough native (across much of the U.S.) perennial that has thrived in our garden. This example has grown slowly but steadily since it was planted a few years ago. I have another seed packet that I'll plant later this fall to provide more orange blooms for color in the garden and food for the pollinators.
As much as I love the herbs and native flowers in our garden I love the food we grow even more. This season we planted four Shishito Chile Pepper starts from a local nursery and they have been bearing quite well so far. We've harvested a few dozen peppers and have several more dozen peppers almost ready to pick. Shishito peppers are quite mild and with a little pan searing and salt make a great appetizer.
Lavender (genus Lavandula) is member of the mint family that grows across the 'Old World'. Lavender is used in medicine, foods, for decoration and its scent. We've found Lavender relatively easy to grow in our arid climate with only occasional watering, mostly when in bloom. Our bees also love lavender and were ardent in pursuit of pollen and nectar.
This Sunday I took the Home Grown New Mexico Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour. Since I took the tour by bike I decided to call it the Tour des Jardins et les Coops. The tour was an easy loop of less than 20 miles and great way to spend a morning in Santa Fe. I was very impressed by the garden landscapes created by these generous and welcoming Santa Feans. I learned quite a bit from the gardens and I've been inspired to continue expanding our little garden.