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The Long and Winding Road

As the old saying goes, roughly: progress is not a straight or steady path.

Preparing for Rain and Drought

IBC Tote & Pallet Wood Rain Cistern

Rain barrels might just be a gateway drug. I started with two converted 55 gallon olive barrels. Then I converted two more soda barrels for 220 gallons of capacity. But, I discovered that I could use all of that water in about a week and a half watering our garden. So, I've gone the next step in my addiction to rainwater catchment.

There, I Fixed It!

Repaired Coffee Grinder and Tools

Less than two years ago I replaced a broken coffee grinder. The old coffee grinder was unrepairable, yet it had worked for over 25 years. I just fixed the 'new' grinder which had a frayed power cord due to a design / manufacturing flaw (the sliding cord cover cut the wire insulation). Somehow this doesn't feel like progress.

Resolutions and Resolve

Pints of Homebrewed Hard Apple Cider and Scotch Ale

Late 2015 and early 2016 have been an interesting time in the eco/enviro world. An international agreement was reached in Paris at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) to reduce CO2 emissions. Yay! Following COP21 it was announced that 2015 was the warmest year and January 2016 was the warmest month (measured globally) on record. Boo! What to do when bad news effectively cancels out the good news of a month earlier? I think it calls for both resolutions and resolve.

Why I Garden #43

Shasta Daisies

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum). After a wet spring and much watering the Shasta Daisies are in full bloom. These flowers are neither native (a hybrid created by Luther Burbank) nor xeric (in our climate) we have made an exception for this small planting.

More Info:

Shasta Daisy

Leucanthemum × superbum

Luther Burbank

Hitting The Reset Button

Power Reset buttons

A few days into January and I finally have a moment to reflect on the past year. I didn't finish all the projects I wanted to (Shock!). Nor did I write as much as I intended to (Surprise!). But, I did finish some tasks and started a few more. What lies ahead in 2015? Quite a lot.

30 minutes Or 75 minutes, whatevs...

Kitchen Timer

Mark Bittman, you're killing me. I made your Spaghetti and Meatballs with hope in my heart and I made it in 30 minutes! (times 2.5)

I completely understand your argument that mise-en-place is an overly fussy step for home cooks. The only time a home chef needs to have everything ready is for stir-fries where everything comes together rapidly. The preparation of the mise-en-place works well in a restaurant where a cook is moving all the time and has several different dishes going. If a restaurant chef has a moment after something has started, they better get going on the next order. If I prep everything ahead of time that means I'll have small six to ten minute breaks between recipe steps which sounds terribly annoying. I could either do a few six minutes chores and forget to stir the onions or I could prep along the way.

Why I Garden #42

Lanceleaf Coreopsis blooming

Lanceleaf Coreopsis, aka Coreopsis lanceolata L., is yet another native perennial growing in our yard. Lanceleaf Coreopsis is a member of Asteraceae (the Aster family) and it has been blooming for the past month or so. While this flower is currently a single plant, I'm hoping it will spread via rhizome or seed across our yard.

More Info:

Plant Fact Sheet - Lance-Leaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolata

Why I Garden #41

Mexican Hat flower closeup

Yellow Prairie Coneflower & Mexican Hat are two color variations of Ratibida columnifera a native, perennial flower we have scattered across our front, side and back yards. Once I learned to recognize their leaves in the early season (sometimes a native plant can look like a weed to untrained eyes) these yellow and/or red daisy-like flowers started growing around our home. Bees love these tough and colorful coneflowers.

More Info:

Why I Garden #40

Common Yarrow in bloom

Common Yarrow, a.k.a. Plumajillo, blooming in our front yard. Another native perennial, yarrow has slowly grown and spread despite the ongoing drought. With a little rain it blooms and the pollinators love it.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Achillea Millefolium

USDA - Plant Fact Sheet - Common Yarrow

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