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.
Posted by Picasa

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.

Posted by Picasa

Thanksgiving watermelon

Posted by Picasa

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.

Posted by Picasa


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.

Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

Tomato and herbs in the greenhouse

I've all ready transpanted the tomato and herbs in large pots to grow in the greenhouse.
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

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.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Water Catchment

I found this picture on line. It is a company in Texas that makes these water catchment systems. I wish I could remember the name of the company. I think it is an excellent idea for open areas or garden areas as it could be made with faucets and hoses and drip systems for gardening areas. I think it could be made by an individual with rebar or bamboo and corrugated metal or plastic extended out from the water container.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Badges & Players - HOMEGROWN.ORG

Badges & Players - HOMEGROWN.ORG

Rocket stove

This is a very simple rocket stove that I am experimenting with. I wanted to have something to use in case the electricity went out as my home is all electric.  I do have a propane barbeque but this is thrifty because it uses bamboo I grow and trimmings from the trees I've planted.   The four bricks on the bottom are only as a base. The stove itself is one cement block with part of the center knocked out.  I added rocks in the bottom.  You add a half block on top as the chimney unit.  Put a little paper in the hole and stick small pieces of wood trimmings in the hole and light.  It cooks, you just have to keep feeding it small sticks.
Posted by Picasa

Food Security

Americans are spoiled for the most part. We run to the grocery store without a second thought about where our food comes from. Much of our food is shipped miles and miles on trucks, planes, and trains.
On Sunday evening I watched 60 minutes and there was a segment on the hackers who could bring down or basic needs , stopping electricity, banking, internet, trucking and more. Today there was a big news release about Brazil's black out. Each of us should think about our food security and how our basic needs would be met in an emergency.

Growing some of our own food is an option that most of us can do and is not too hard to accomplish. Local food is fresher and better for us too.
Here is a web source where you can find local growers and suppliers.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Help Needed

I saw this picture this morning. Refugees.
I belong to a charity of a sorts called I am now using it as a savings account
I add to it as I can afford to and then I pick entreprenuirs who are low income
to loan the money to. They pay the loans back and I can take the money or recycle
it in another loan. You can join teams of like minded people such as agriculture,
peace, permaculture, your local area, etc so you have community.
I believe this is a very wise way to help others help themselves, so please consider
joining this charitable org.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 9, 2009

The house from the road. The trees are beginning to fill in and create a less desert look.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lath House

The Lath house as I see it from the back door of the house. That's burlap stapled to the bottom half for shade and to keep rabbits out.
Posted by Picasa

Lath House

This faces the front of the property. I park here now between the lath house and the house. You can see the green house inside securely fastened against winds.
Posted by Picasa

Work area, potting area, in front of green house in lath house
Posted by Picasa

Lath House

Eating and meditating area. No plants yet but hope it will soon be full of green things.
Posted by Picasa


The Moringa at the front gate planted this Spring from seed is thriving
Posted by Picasa