Why I Garden #1

Delicata Squash, Amish Paste Tomatoes and Purple Pod Beans

Delicata Winter Squash, Amish Paste Tomatoes and Purple Pod String Beans.

Paper or Plastic? Canvas!

Canvas Tote Bags

Paper or Plastic? I'm asked that simple question about once a week and I now have a better answer - Canvas. I've known for a while that neither paper or plastic is a great shopping bag choice. Paper bags, as they are currently produced in the U.S., require cutting down about 14 million trees each year. The 30 billion plastic bags Americans use each year require 12 million barrels of crude oil for their manufacture. Why not short-circuit the debate between the lesser of the two evils and use a canvas bag?

Native Sun(flowers)

Sunflowers - Helianthus annuus

When I first moved into my home the front and back yards were a mess. Other than (thankfully) a few trees, both the front and back yards were barren. My new home featured a landscape of bare dirt, rocks and a few weeds. The realtor offered to get the seller to pay for a load of gravel to spread in the front yard, but I said no. Crazy? Perhaps. I just can't stand gravel-scaping in lieu of actual plants. So, instead of covering up the problem, I started planning a native and xeric landscape around my home.

This Land is Our Land

National Public Lands Day

New Mexicans are lucky in that more than 45% of our land is publicly owned. These public lands include our National Forests, Parks, Monuments and Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, BLM lands, State Parks among others. We are lucky because we can hike, bike, raft, ride, camp and explore vast expanses of our state. One way we can show our appreciation for this privilege is to volunteer for National Public Lands Day.

Trade your Car for a Bike?

Team Wonderbike

That's the proposition from the folks at the New Belgium Brewery (makers of Fat Tire Ale). If you will donate your car, sign over the title to a charity, and give it away completely ... the New Belgium Brewery will give you a custom-fitted commuter bike. Wow! Now you have to commit to riding the bike (and not driving a car) for a full year, submit a video or letter application, but that's about it. If you're ready to give up your car completely go to FollowYourFolly.com and go to the Bike Trade section of the website for more info.

Cheap vs. Frugal

Pruning Clippers

Buy it once and make it last.

I like to save money. That's not unusual, but my desire to be frugal can lead to being cheap. Unfortunately, being cheap leads to spending more money, because cheap items often don't work well or last long. I seem to have this cheap/frugal problem any time I have to choose between two or more widgets in a store. When I look at a range of items, I tend towards the lowest price. I should know by now that the cheapest item can become the most expensive item in the long run.

Use a Reel (Real) Mower

Reel Mower

I am in the process of establishing a native grass (buffalo and blue grama) lawn in part of my backyard. Beyond the weeding of undesired plants and occasional watering I have been reintroduced to mowing after several years. Because I'm working to reduce my ecological impact I decided to go with a Reel (not "real") Push Mower. As I am the power for this mower it needs no fuel (other than a good breakfast for me) or electricity to run. Well, after a few weeks of mowing I can tell you about the pros and cons of using a reel push mower.

Food Fresh from the Farm

Farmers Market Apples and Peaches

Supermarkets have become strangely fantastical places where fruits and vegetables are always in season and always available. Unfortunately, the fruits and vegetables are rarely truly fresh and the varieties have become very uniform across the nation. Of course, fruits can't be picked when they're fully ripe if they must be shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. Many heirloom vegetables, especially tomatoes, don't ship well at all, so the supermarkets only stock the types that can withstand early picking and long-distance trucking.

Hyde Memorial State Park Summer Events

Looking for something to do? Take advantage of your local state parks! State parks in New Mexico have ongoing lectures, hikes and fun events. Here are some of the walks and talks for Hyde Memorial State Park, just a short drive from the Santa Fe Plaza.

Hyde Memorial Enchanted Evenings
Thursdays, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

At what price power? - the Navajo Coal Power Plant

Four Corners Power Plant

The Energy Challenge: Navajos and Environmentalists Split on Power Plant - The struggle over a proposal for a huge coal-fired power plant on a Navajo reservation is a homegrown version of the global debate on climate change. [NYT - Environment]

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