Have you ever wondered how to make it rain? The folks at Home Grown New Mexico may have figured it out. For the second year in a row the Kitchen Garden and Coop Tour has concluded with a downpour. I can't think of a more fitting end to a tour of permaculture gardens, water catchment systems and chicken coops than a powerful rainstorm.
The heart of a bicycle is the frame. The fork, wheels, bars and stem, saddle, pedals, etc. are vital, but they all build upon the frame. I've ridden many and owned a few bikes over the years and have determined through trial and error what I like to ride. I was despondent last fall when I discovered a crack on the chainstay of my mountain bike. I found a loaner bike to ride and pondered the fate of my well loved hardtail...
Hey kids! Would you like your house to smell like vinegar? Have I got the recipe for you!
We had a surprisingly good tomato year this year in our garden. This is extra amazing considering we had a massive hail storm in early July which reduced many of our plants to sticks. The tomatoes bounced back and, boy howdy, did they produce. However, the cold descended before all the tomatoes could ripen. So, we had lots of green tomatoes and didn't have the heart to toss everything on the compost pile.
The Southwest isn't wet in the best of times and during a drought, like Right Now, it is downright parched. How do you keep a garden growing when the rain doesn't fall? We have to irrigate, but how can we irrigate effectively with scarce water? Drip irrigation is one modern answer, but ancient people had a simpler version of the same idea.
I hate to throw away "perfectly good" things even when they're a bit scruffy. Case in point, my road bike. I bought this bike from a friend many years ago and have put quite a few miles on it. After a couple of years I re-painted it and replaced some worn parts. Well, after a decade or so of riding it desperately needed another overhaul. Now I have a friend with powdercoating equipment and I've restored the bike to better than ever.
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.
Our bathroom remodel is now on solid footing. Specifically, two layers of new plywood glued and screwed in place have replaced the water-damaged deck and subfloor. Half of the "wet" wall is replaced with new (full height) and reused (short pieces and blocking) 2x4 lumber. I've spray-foamed each of the water and vent pipe holes in the subfloor and wrapped the hot-water pipes for both bathrooms (they share the "wet" wall) with foam insulation. A can of spray foam and pipe insulation are cheap and help deliver hot water to the tap faster.
Just in Time Production is a popular manufacturing strategy with the MBA crowd. It's also a popular strategy for the procrastinators among us. At the Santa Fe Master Gardener's Fair this spring I saw a simple demonstration of how to build an inexpensive (Woo Hoo!) rainbarrel.
Our family listens to a lot of public radio and we even have three local stations to choose from. While I'm not a big fan of pledge drives, I understand the need for them. Recently, I've heard public radio (and TV) stations promoting Car Donation programs as another form of listener support. It just happens that we had an older car that was, ahem, 'fully depreciated' and worth almost nothing as a trade-in.
I just gave away a part of my history and I feel great. Often, I hang onto little things that remind me of my past. This was the first mountain bike I bought for myself and it's seen many miles and several crashes. Strangely enough, I didn't mind letting it go. Mostly because I know that it will live on in one or more 'new' bikes.