I planted New Mexico Hops (Humulus lupulus L. var. neomexicanus) in the backyard several years ago and they have flowered prolifically this year. Each year these perennial vines spread further and are close to covering the fence they grow over. Hop flowers aren't likely to win a beauty contest but they are wonderfully fragrant in a way that few IPA lovers can resist. Now it's time to visit the local home brewing store and find a beer recipe to go with wild hops!
The monsoon rains have been coming pretty regularly and everything in the garden is growing with vim and vigor. I expect that the various squash and other vining plants will soon break out of their beds and overwhelm any slow moving bystanders. Of course that includes the weeds, but the fruit and veggies are keeping pace. My only worry is that I might miss pulling any of the insidious Siberian Elm (aka Chinese Elm) seedlings that are sprouting from any and everywhere.
A couple of years back, a colleague of mine took me on a tour of a project he was working on out at Mesa del Sol, a new development on the South side of Albuquerque beyond the airport. With only a vague knowledge that our firm was involved in some planning there, I rode shotgun South through town to the last highway exit before the Indian reservations and empty desert take over. The road up to Mesa del Sol is one of those works of civil engineering that look like a Michael Heizer landform sculpture, with long flowing embankments on both sides that cut dramatically through the terrain.
We all know that washing your car seems to bring on the rain. I've found another way to encourage precipitation, tour a Solar Photovoltaic System. After a sun-filled week the skies clouded over and unleashed a downpour about 30 minutes before I visited a friend's solar system. Despite the non-power producing weather, Bruce showed me his PV system and we climbed up on the roof during a lull in the showers. At least the solar panels were nice and clean!
A few weeks ago I wrote about an appliance rebate program in New Mexico. The NM Energy Conservation and Management Division offered $200 rebates for upgrading either a refrigerator, clothes washer or furnace (lots of $ still available for furnace upgrades). Well, we jumped on it and bought a new Energy Star refrigerator and replaced an early '90's vintage fridge. Thanks to my handy-dandy Kill-A-Watt EZ* I discovered how much money we are actually saving with the new fridge.
Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, author of How Buildings Learn and founder of The Long Now Foundation has written Whole Earth Discipline: An EcoPragmatist Manifesto. I'm generally leery of manifestoes, but given Mr. Brand's resumé I decided to chance reading it. I'm still considering Whole Earth Discipline (and have incurred the wrath of my local library by keeping it overdue). Brand makes three statements in his book - Cities are Green, Genetic Engineering is Green, and Nukes are Green. Is he radical, practical or both?
I love gardening, but to paraphrase the old saying - it's not all a bed of roses. Case in point, the apple, almond and plum trees are in bloom and the apricot trees are just past bloom. The problem: the weather last night - snow and a low of 29.5°F and the forecast for tonight is below freezing again.