George Gershwin wrote, 'It's summertime and the living is easy'. It is officially summertime, but I'm not sure about the easy part. Despite a complete lack of April showers and very few May flowers we have plenty of June bugs (larvae, actually) and they have been ransacking our chile pepper transplants. I raked over one garden bed and dug up more grubs than I care to count.
Living in the Southwest many of us are accustomed to brilliant blue skies, 100 mile views and great air quality. But clean air isn't guaranteed, especially in the spring and summer fire season. Currently, firefighters in Eastern AZ (and soon Western NM) are fighting the Wallow Fire, which has grown to hundreds of thousands of acres. Wildfire is dangerous for those in it's path and living downwind in the smoke plume.
I'm a DIY sort of guy. If I think I can build something, I'll probably try. The DIY route often works out just fine. But, sometimes a project will take a longer than anticipated. For example, I just finished building a cold frame. A cold frame is an unheated mini-greenhouse used for gardening through the cold winter months. Of course, I finished the cold frame just in time for summer. Or, maybe I'm early?
'Can I have a minute of your time?' Have you ever heard those words from a stranger, probably holding a clipboard, on the street? Did you stop for a minute or walk by more quickly? I consider my time precious and often walk past. In 'Harvest the Rain' author Nate Downey boldly asks for 10 minutes of your time every day to spend on catching, directing and using rainwater. After reading his book I'm not sure he asked for enough.
It's a hard realization, but if you can't be honest with yourself...
I recently built a simple thermometer shield to protect an outdoor thermometer from direct sunlight and reflected heat. I reused a section of white PVC pipe to provide additional cover for the outdoor sensor. A pair of nesting birds found the pipe and decided to move in.
Few things seem to get people as excited as a train rolling into town. I wouldn't have thought that a public meeting about a commuter rail station would pack a school cafeteria full of concerned citizens. Yet, that was the scene on March 14th as neighbors came to find out more about the possible opening of the Zia Station for the Rail Runner Express.
The Santa Fe Complex and Home Grown New Mexico are holding a First Community Homesteading Potluck Gathering on March 29th at 7pm at the Santa Fe Complex. The potlucks will continue through the summer on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The goal is to bring individuals together to organically create an environment of education between the different levels of experience.
I have a new-found respect for the folks who work in live radio. I recently appeared on 'The Journey Home', a local radio show, for 'Sustainable Tuesday'. I can only use the well-worn metaphor comparing radio to a verbal high-wire act. Fortunately, the host - Diego Mulligan, was friendly and helped move the conversation along. I had fun and enjoyed the chance to introduce EcoDaddyo.com to the world of radio. Click here to listen to 'The Journey Home' with EcoDaddyo.com.
It takes a little planning and a few barnyard animals, but finding free fertilizer can be easy and cheap. A friend of mine who lives outside of town has mules ... and their byproducts. Mules are great animals, if you have the room for them, and they produce a considerable amount of fertilizer. Local stables can be a good source of livestock manure if you can haul it away and compost the stuff.
Living in the American Southwest, many of us see ourselves as rugged individuals. Movies, books, songs, etc. have celebrated the image of the independent westerner blazing his/her own trail. But, bitterly cold weather has popped the illusion of independence for a great many New Mexicans. Very few of us realized that a power-outage in Texas could trigger natural gas outages for thousands of people across New Mexico.