Folks around Santa Fe call these flowers Purple Aster when they pop up in late summer / early fall. Apparently Aster bigelovii has quite a few pseudonyms including Bigelow's Tansyaster, Sticky Aster and more scientifically Machaeranthera bigelovii or Dieteria bigelovii var. bigelovii. Regardless of what they're called we have a few of these self-seeded native wildflowers growing in one of the beds around our home.
Our garden attracts a good variety of insect pollinators, including our honeybees. For the past week we've had a new variety of showy, large moths in the garden. They flit about like hummingbirds and are bold, relatively unbothered by human attention. A quick 'Net search revealed that our garden guests are Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth. Of course, now I need to check the tomatoes for hornworms.
Last weekend I took a break from the list of DIY projects to watch someone else make something. We headed down to Albuquerque to experience the Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire. After several years of reading Make: magazine it was time to attend a gathering of this very geeky tribe. Up until we arrived I was unsure of whether the Maker Faire would be worth the hassle of loading up the family for a two-hour round trip. Well, I think we've found our people.
Once again it is high summer and time for garden tours. Santa Feans have a selection of garden tours to choose from. Tours range from Behind Adobe Walls and the Botanical Gardens to gardens that are a bit more home grown. As our garden is relatively modest I find inspiration from similarly DIY gardens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.