Local

From Merry to Mulch

Christmas Tree Recycling

Ours was a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I hope yours were too. With the passing of the holidays it is time to clear our the decorations, especially the more flammable ones. The family loved having a fragrant and green Christmas tree in our home.

Thinking of Trains at Christmas

Vintage Train Christmas card

A model train under the Christmas tree is nostalgic decoration. Actual trains running through New Mexico (like the Southwest Chief and Rail Runner Express) have a definite history, but do they have a future? That depends on decisions made by the NMDOT in the newest New Mexico State Rail Plan. While you're enjoying a holiday break you may wish to send the NMDOT your thoughts supporting rail travel in New Mexico.

Sabor de la Tierra

Vivac Tasting Room and 1725 vineyard

When you think of New Mexico the phrase Goût de Terroir may not leap to mind. But, if sun, soil, and water influence the flavor of chile peppers, then grapes are similarly affected. While New Mexico is better known for chile, the vintners at Vivác are making wine with a taste of place. Perhaps Sabor de la Tierra is more appropriate wording.

Why I Garden #37

Purple Asters - Machaeranthera bigelovii

Folks around Santa Fe call these flowers Purple Aster when they pop up in late summer / early fall. Apparently Aster bigelovii has quite a few pseudonyms including Bigelow's Tansyaster, Sticky Aster and more scientifically Machaeranthera bigelovii or Dieteria bigelovii var. bigelovii. Regardless of what they're called we have a few of these self-seeded native wildflowers growing in one of the beds around our home.

A Riddle Hovering in the Garden

Hyles lineata - White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth

Our garden attracts a good variety of insect pollinators, including our honeybees. For the past week we've had a new variety of showy, large moths in the garden. They flit about like hummingbirds and are bold, relatively unbothered by human attention. A quick 'Net search revealed that our garden guests are Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth. Of course, now I need to check the tomatoes for hornworms.

DIY Inspiration

The Hand of Man at Abq. Mini Maker Faire

Last weekend I took a break from the list of DIY projects to watch someone else make something. We headed down to Albuquerque to experience the Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire. After several years of reading Make: magazine it was time to attend a gathering of this very geeky tribe. Up until we arrived I was unsure of whether the Maker Faire would be worth the hassle of loading up the family for a two-hour round trip. Well, I think we've found our people.

Gardens and Chickens and Goats, Oh My!

Garden & Coop Tour 2013 - Friendly Goat

Once again it is high summer and time for garden tours. Santa Feans have a selection of garden tours to choose from. Tours range from Behind Adobe Walls and the Botanical Gardens to gardens that are a bit more home grown. As our garden is relatively modest I find inspiration from similarly DIY gardens.

Standing on a Carbon Sink

Installing a Douglas Fir plank floor

This might just look like a new wood floor to you, but it's also a carbon sink. In our search to replace our heavily worn carpet and vinyl flooring we looked at many options, finally deciding on locally harvested and milled Douglas Fir. I've always liked the feel and look of tongue & groove wood floors and this was a reasonably priced, local option for us.

Catching Water and Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies at the Museum Hill Botanical Garden

It is the height of summer and gardens are (or should be) at their best. Our garden is recovering from a hailstorm, so I must look elsewhere for verdant finery. Conveniently, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill held their grand opening last weekend and our family toured the newly planted grounds. I've seen a few botanical gardens in my day and many focus on obscure and exotic plants from far-flung corners of the globe.

Old-tech Irrigation with Ollas

Olla factory at Growing Awareness Urban Farm

The Southwest isn't wet in the best of times and during a drought, like Right Now, it is downright parched. How do you keep a garden growing when the rain doesn't fall? We have to irrigate, but how can we irrigate effectively with scarce water? Drip irrigation is one modern answer, but ancient people had a simpler version of the same idea.

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