Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jovanny, the groom

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money dance

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Ring bearer and flower girl

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Grand daughters wedding

Karina and her dad, my son, coming in the door to go down the isle at the wedding.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION - Radical Change Taking Root

I love the Dervaes homesite. I doubt that I will be able to accomplish what they have but I'm trying to do something.

Christmas Lights.

My thoughts today were turned to the little antelope squirrels we have here as I heard on the news this morning about the new Alvin the chipmunk movie.  I watch these charming little creatures, though destructive, from my window as they cross the fence and steal the prickly pears and pomegranates.  They have even climbed the young persimmon tree to tPosted by Picasa to steal the very limited persimmons. 

I took a walk on the back 12 acres and saw the burrowing owl sitting beside his underground home.  I love these little owls.  I built a refuge/resort for them this year but I think rabbits took it over.  I will try again this Spring to revitalize the resort.  I have neighbors who have off the ground sheds and these little owls seem to like to build their homes under these sheds.  One summer they used my front driveway drain pipe for a home and I would see them sitting on my front gate.  That worried me because the monsoon rains come suddenly and could easily have washed them away. 

I have been harvesting my bamboo for the stacks.  I am planning on using them to create fence panels around garden areas for protection from the rabbits.  I learned as I harvested that the stalks have quite a bit of mulch material.  The leaves I cleaned off the stalks can be used for feed or mulch. 

Everyone have a thoughtful Christmas, enjoy your family and friends and remember this beautiful earth and all it's creatures  Let's go forward into 2010 taking care of our planet, planting trees, and finding ways to make a difference.  Peace and Blessings and enjoy my Christmas lights. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reforestation - Hope in a Changing Climate 1 (of 2) - BBC Our World Documentary

This video shows the amazing change that can come from planting trees of land that appears to be of no value.

Another good site to watch videos on this subject is at the edenproject.

Reforestation - Hope in a Changing Climate 2 (of 2) - BBC Our World Documentary

Monday, December 21, 2009

50 Million Trees and Counting: Trees for the Future

Here is a video showing how important tree planting is. People can survive where trees grow.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Urban Gardening: How to Build a Raised bed and Hoop House

The Garden girl has quit a set up in the city.

Cold rainy morning


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It's a cold and rainy morning so the fire is going and I'm snuggled in. Since about the 4th of December we have had frost and also rain. The rain is large steady drops but not a downpour so the ground is able to soak it in. I feel very grateful for the good rain.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pallet dish rack

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pallet and shingle cabin.wmv

Pallets are a resource that can be recycled. Here is a cute little cabin made from pallets. I have the idea that one could build two of these facing each other only one to the side with 6' left on the front porch area.   This will create a patio area in back.  If the porch 6' x 6' area is closed off between the two cabins it could be a walk through bathroom with a toilet and shower. One living section could be a kitchen living area and the other section a bedroom/ storage area. Each could have a sink so wash up would be simple and since all the plumping would be in the central area of the 6' x 6' enclosed area you could have a door going outside and an ourdoor sink along the patio wall as well.  Two sections of fence which could also be pallets would enclose the 10' x 10' patio area, for privacy.  It could be used for gardening and have sliding glass doors leading from the kitchen living area. 

Pallets can be purchased by the truckload for about $2.00 each or gathered for free from local sources.

Just thinking.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rain gutter growing area

I found this on the web. I thought it was a great idea and wanted to pass it on. Here you have a very nice salad garden growing in rain gutters along a wall. I think you would have to punch holes in the raingutter for drainage but you could water the top and then it might self water the lower ones. This could also be placed on a fence or other solid or semi solid structure. I'm thinking about putting some on my lath house walls and the dog kennel inside wall. I saw another very good idea, use toilet paper as seed strips. Roll out single toilet paper and lightly brush with flour water mix, place your seeds at the proper distance on one side of the paper than fold over. Lay your toilet paper strip in your raingutter planter on some soil then cover. Water, and watch your garden grow. I'm going to try this and let you know.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Protected growing area

Recently I was able to purchase this dog kennel, 6x6x6 for $75 from a local person. It has a nice gate and a roof. My plan is to use it as a nice growing area that the birds and rabbits can't get to. I am going to start putting soil amendments inside so that by Spring I can start a garden. I wish I could get some more of these kennels at that price. At Home Depot just one panel is $59.00 so getting the whole unit for under $100. is a big savings. In the forground is a newly transplanted palo verde tree and behind the kennel is the transplanted olive. The young olive was too close to where I am now parking my truck and was always in danger of being run over, so I moved it last week to behind the lath house. As these trees grow and fill out the will provide shade for the lath house and growing areas.
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Frozen Moringa

Since Dec 4th we have had frost. This is a picture of the frozen Moringa before I harvested the leaves. I now have a nice container full of flash frozen Moringa leaves to use in cooking. I'm hoping the tree will come back and survive. The trunk looks healthy so hopefully next Spring it will but out new leaves and perhaps flower.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Potting Indian Fig

Yesterday when I was at Home Depot I saw pots of Indian Fig for $29. Today I pruned my Indian Fig, which it needed and I'm potting up these trimmings. I won't sell them for $29. but if I can get $10. that would be great. I picked another watermelon and it was good. This is a beautiful day, December 1st. Great to be out working. I potted up my new tomatoes and put them in the greenhouse. I also pruned the fruiting mulberrry to see if I can start some cuttings for next year. I'm going to start digging the holes for next years plantings. I want to start more Moringa trees and more native Palo Verdes on this property. Both trees are fast growing and both provide food. The palo verde is nitrogen fixing as well so they help the soil and bring up deep minerals.

My darling peahens got into the lath house and were giving themselves dust baths in the planted barrel. Shzzzzz. Always critters.

I read today that one of the biggest causes by almost 1/2 is eating meat. I hate the factory farms they use to grow meat but more than that we are creating global warming because of our need to eat meat. Palo Verde seeds are high in protein as are Moringa leaves. Trees can produce protein for us and how about nuts? I read recently that we could easily substitute nuts for grains and they generally are raised with less fossil fuel than grains are. I have gradually gotten used to an almost vegitarian diet and like it.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Evening sky

I did some browsing on other blogs this weekend. One woman had a recipe for her favorite pumpkin bread. Right off the bat she had 3 cups of sugar. My goodness, there was more sugar than flour. In my pumpkin bread I put about 2 TBS of agave syrup for sweetening. Pumpkin is a very healthy food but does it need to be over dosed with sugar? I don't think we need to add so much sugar to foods to make them sweet. Perhaps it is my tastebuds but I'm getting so everything I buy is way too sweet. It just takes a little sweetener to make something taste sweet and after that point it is just over kill an unhealthy filler.

Yesterday, I transplanted some cabbages and today I have to go to town so I'm going to see if I can find some brocolli plants. Something is getting my brocolli seedlings. I'm going to start another tray only this time it will be in the green house where birds and other critters can't go. In each pot of cabbage I also planted dates, pomegranates and avacodos.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Simple Pleasures

On Thursday evening I baked a loaf of banana nut bread.  I bake either banana nut bread or pumpkin nut bread about once a week because my morning simple pleasure is a cup of coffee and a slice of nut bread. With banana's or pumpkin, oats, walnuts,wholewheat flour and eggs it is a very satisfying breakfast.  Real food.

This morning I woke to clear skies.  I had gone to bed thinking it might rain.  When I went out to feed I could smell the smell of wet earth and creosote but the ground was not very wet.  That was a simple pleasure, crisp, cool air with the rain scent.  I spent the morning in the lath house potting plants, another simple pleasure.  In each pot besides the cabbages I put bits of sweet potato and seeds of pomegranate and dates.  I will gather other tree seeds to plant in the pots of vegitables as I plant and hopefully I will have some young trees to transplant later.  My tomato has a baby tomato on it all snuggled in the green house.  It is so nice to have these protected areas to grow. 

I all ready got my first seed catalog and it hardly seems as though winter is started but I am planning for the new Spring garden.  I will plant more Moringa trees with the vegies this year and as always I hope and dream for a good crop. 

I read a post today from Department of Agriculture that from 2007 - 2009 food security among Americans has changed from 4.7 million to 6.7 million without real food security or not knowing where their next meal will come from.  That is a big change .  Now think of this:  Everyday Americans throw away 1400 calories per person of usable food.  That's pretty stark, what is the matter with our viewpoint?  We need to reevaluate our needs and habits.  When you have earthworms, raised to fertilize your soil and garden and chickens for eggs, you always have a place for leftover food that enhances your life not your garbage can. 

Thanksgiving watermelon

I can see that it was left on the vine too long. The narrow end was better. Humans got to eat some and the rest the peahens and chickens enjoyed.

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Thanksgiving watermelon

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunflower on Thanksgiving

The nights are chilly but we still havn't had frost here in the desert. I'm going to pick a watermelon today I have been saving in the garden for Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgivng is a National Holiday in the US.  It's a day to be thankful for survival and freedom.  I tend to be meditative on special days and my thoughts are about the vast population of  man and all their works.  You might say I'm simple minded, I think about the basics, I have a connection to the earth. 

Yesterday, I looked through my Kiva portfolio and planned my next months donation/loan.  http://www,  I have decided instead of using banks for savings I am going to use kiva for savings.  Saving accounts give very little interest and the interest on a kiva loan is the human interest of helping someone get started.  Every month I put what I can into the account and then look for individuals to loan to.  I tend to prefer agricultural, natural industries.  If they are going to use the money for pesticides I don't loan.  I like to lend to organic growers, seamstresses, weavers, and those who sell  local farmers produce.  If they  show cocoa cola or other BIG company products I pass them by.  My belief  system is that "Every man should sit under his own vine and fig tree"  We should be growing food in and on our homeplaces, we should be nurturing and supporting those who are growing food and supplying basic products and services. 

Kiva is an international  organization but they do loan to people in the US as well.  Usually those loans are for $10,000. and are for restaurants or in one case a recycled clothes store.  I would like to see loans go to CSA's  (Community Supported Agriculture) , organic farmers, permaculture start-ups, and other grass roots businesses.  Many of the recipients of the loans live very basic lives.  Their shelters are simple, they are hard working and trying to just get by. 

Here in the U.S.  people go to the food bank, get unemployment pay and this is their way of surviving.  I would love to see more community gardens and locally grown food.  In the county where I live there is very little locally grown food, it is all shipped in.  What removes people from the very basics of life and moves them into modes of frenzy about stuff? 

I'm thankful that I have a piece of land where I can plant and grow and gather some of my own food.  In time this piece of ground will have much to offer in providing food and resources for me and my animals. The trees I've planted will bear fruit.  

 My Thanksgiving message is;  Grow something, even if it's in a pot, something you can eat and share with others.  Give something, to help someone help themself.  Teach something , that helps the earth be natural and full of abundance. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Palm at the front of house

I'm sitting here on a cool November day with a bowl of chili and a baked potato. This is fast becoming one of my favorite meals and so simple. I put on a crockpot of beans once a week and then I make up a chili with peppers, tomatoes, onions and moringa leaves. I bake several potatoes and when I'm hungry it's just a matter of heating it up and diving in. It's fast, healthy and filling. I've got some sweet potato slices on right now steaming. These are wonderful hot or cold for in between meal snacks. A Holiday special at .25 cents a #
I've been out to the green house this morning and my tomato plant looks very healthy and robust. It's got a flower on it and I'm hoping for tomatoes later on. My lettuce garden is doing well and other tubs of vegies are coming up. I talked to my son yesterday and he told me I should plant my peas now and keep them in the lath house. I decided to do bag gardens of peas and see if they will do well for me.
Yesterday I was in the grocery store and there was this family all extremely overweight with a little boy in the cart who looked like he was all ready 200#. They were all scarfing down a couple boxes of sweet pastries. I almost thought it was child abuse feeding that child that way. I had gone in to pick up apples that were on a good sale price. I will be giving my grand daughter and her children a nice big bag of sweet potatoes and apples. These wonderful natural foods are great sweets and healthy. Too bad more people don't just buy from the produce department.I don't mean to sound self righteous , I just would like to see people eat more natural food , healthy food.   I'm finding that is just about the only place I purchase is in the produce department and whole grains and nuts. That seems to be the way I eat and I'm feeling pretty good.

 I've been picking a few figs of late and I'm waiting to pick the watermelons for Thanksgiving. I'll take a picture when I pick them. I bought some big Medjul dates with pits in them so I can plant them in the green house. I know I will not see the fruits in my lifetime but maybe someone will enjoy them if I plant them. I also planted a fruiting mulberry this week.
Last week friends, Christine and Jose came by and brought me a beautiful tangerine tree that had gotten from freecycle. They even planted it for me. They also helped me put up the dog pen for my kitchen garden area behind the lath house. It will help me to keep the rabbits out and I plan on growing vines up it. I gave them a watermelon. Hope it was ripe. It's a bit chilly but I like the fall weather. I have more energy to work and there's something about the change of seasons.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Evening sky

An evening sky.

I planted a big metal tub today of radishes, onions and spinach in the lath house. I also planted a pot of lemon grass and a herb jar of odds and ends. I also potted up some pomegrantate cuttings, I hope they root. It's cool and breezy today and last night was pretty chilly.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

jumbled plants at end of season

This jumble of plants all grew out of one hole I dug. In the center growing tall is a young Moringa tree. To the side is a zuccini that has served me well. Vining around it all are watermelons and sweet potato. There might be some peanuts in the jumble as well. I'm waiting for the watermelon stems to turn brown then I will pick them and then dig the sweet potato. There may also be some long beans in the mix as well. I have found here in the desert if I plant different seeds in one hole the plants do better because the help each other by shading and apparently repelling rabbits to some degree. I will clean it all up soon and only leave the Moringa which I hope will make it through the winter.
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Tomato and herbs in the greenhouse

I've all ready transpanted the tomato and herbs in large pots to grow in the greenhouse.
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Today in the green house

I bought a six pak of cabbage, some ruffled cabbage and some kind of little succulent. I love seeing plants in the lath house.
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Last Hen

A couple months ago dogs got into my chicken pen and what a masacre occured. I now have 5 poultry left. Lenny my genuea, the two young peahens that were hatched here and two hens. You'll have to click on the picture to get a good look but this young little hen is from my crock pot chicks. She is laying me a nice brown egg a day. The other hen is an old hen who I have had for at least 3 years. She doesn't lay much so she doesn't count except for the company. I'm getting enough eggs for me but no eggs to sell as I had hoped. The cost of all the chickens and peafowel killed was about $450. I doubt that I will ever be repaid, not even an apology even though I recognized the dogs and identified them. I keep a very close eye on these and the chicken pen looks like a prison at night with metal bed frames tied over the doors. I was very sad for quite awhile.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Beautiful skies yesterday

Often when there are clouds we have beautiful skies. This is a shot I took yesterday.

You're probably wondering why I'm suddenly posting. I couldn't get my camera to work. I was perplexed as I went and bought new batteries and it still didn't work. A friend suggested that I should charge the rechargeable batteries just in case I had purchased them when they were uncharged. Well, it worked. Ho, Ho. Charge your batteries if your camera is not working, a simple solution.

Yesterday I planted garlic and some scallions that had dried up in the frig. I want to plant a few planters each day. I have cabbages coming up as well as kale and swiss chard. Carrots and lettuces are also popping up. In the tires I have some fairly mature pumpkins and armenian cucumbers. It all adds up when things are growing. I have been eating pumpkin bread this past week from pumpkins gleaned from hallowean and those pumpkin seeds are great toasted with some chili and spices. Pumpkin bread is very filling and my dog loves it.
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