Kids & Parents

Catching Water and Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies at the Museum Hill Botanical Garden

It is the height of summer and gardens are (or should be) at their best. Our garden is recovering from a hailstorm, so I must look elsewhere for verdant finery. Conveniently, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill held their grand opening last weekend and our family toured the newly planted grounds. I've seen a few botanical gardens in my day and many focus on obscure and exotic plants from far-flung corners of the globe.

Why I Garden #36

Tomato plants after hail storm

Hail! Ugh.

One week ago a fierce thunderstorm hit our neighborhood and it started with a vicious hailstorm. I was in the middle of a project and could do nothing to save the tender annuals in our garden. While the corn survived, most of the chiles, tomatoes, beans and squash were shredded. Many of the perennials are already looking better, but I still need to decide what plants will be replaced this season.

I'm thrilled to have the precipitation, I just wish it had all come as rain. Ugh.

Why I Garden #35

Golden Currant, blooming

Once again the natives in our garden shine despite the drought. This Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) has grown steadily, if slowly, in a far corner of the yard. It has bloomed for the first time this spring, bringing an unexpected splash of bright yellow. I wish I could take credit for the flowers, but this perennial has grown and thrived with only infrequent watering. I'm hopeful that there will be a few currants to eat come the fall.

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This is Why Santa Feans Don't Recycle!

Santa Fe Recycling Flowchart

Santa Feans recycle less than 10% of all possible materials that instead go to a landfill. When the national average for recycling is 34% why is the rate in eco-conscious Santa Fe county so low? Because recycling in Santa Fe is a pain in the ass. To illustrate, a friend created this flow chart for visiting relatives to explain what items could be recycled and what couldn't. At first I laughed, because recycling really is this ridiculously complicated in Santa Fe. Then I had a realization.

Why I Garden #34

Asparagus - first harvest

Asparagus ~ Spring on your plate.

This may not be the most impressive harvest to come from our garden, but it is satisfying. Fresh asparagus is a sure sign of Spring and I was very happy to cut even a few spears from our garden. Asparagus plants (Asparagus officinalis) are perennial and take two years to establish before the spears can be harvested. This first harvest was a very long time in coming and even sweeter for the wait. We did "cheat" a bit and added store-bought asparagus to our own to make a more generous serving of roasted asparagus spears.

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Food Writers, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down...

Bent fork

Food writers, I love you sometimes but when your recipes fail you totally bum me out and leave me with a bad dinner debacle.

For example, hey you Smitten Kitchen, your recipe produced the greasiest carrot cake I've ever eaten. It made EcoBaby's birthday kind of lame. I even cut back on the listed amount of oil! For Pete's sake woman! But oh boy, your mulled spice cranberry bars were a total winner. More of that, less of the oil.

Let's Plant Some Sh!t

Ron Finley - TED talk

To quote Ron Finley, "Let's Plant Some Sh!t"! Ron is a guerrilla gardner in South Central Los Angeles where he has put shovel to soil and redesigned his neighborhood by planting gardens.

“Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus, you get strawberries.”

It's time to get off my cushy chair and grow some change in my own neighborhood.

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The Cutting Edge of Water

Watershed Restoration Model

By necessity, life in the American Southwest depends on the availability of water. Aldo Leopold understood the importance of watersheds and those lessons are being re-learned today. Here is a documentary of a two day watershed restoration workshop held in October 2012 at Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center near Madrid, NM. "The Cutting Edge" was taught by Brad Lancaster, Amanda Bramble, Jan-Willem Jansens, Steve Carson and Craig Sponholtz. The workshop focused on catching, sinking, storing and using water where it falls.

Bathroom Remodel Part 3 - Trampled Under Foot

Linoleum roll

While replacing the deck and subfloor we researched bathroom flooring choices. Our criteria for the floor were: low maintenance and water resistant, not cold underfoot, moderate to low price, and preferably a sustainable product. Those requirements quickly narrowed the choices to linoleum.

A Fruitful Year, Part II

Apple - Platonic Ideal

I processed so many apples through this kitchen that it felt like an outpost of Motts on some days. People, it was a fruitful year and our pantry now overfloweth.

Our own apple tree did well this year and whatever EcoBaby didn't yank off the tree (mostly things on the lower branches) we thoroughly enjoyed. Ecobaby was the best consumer of our garden products. She is still yanking freeze dried little grapes off the vine and gnawing on them.

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