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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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Local Power and Clean Energy

Green Power to the People

How can a city shift to renewable energy when the local power utility is committed to fossil fuels? Boulder, CO has decided to "explore ... forming a city-owned utility". The Kit Carson Electric Coop in Taos, NM has a customer-owned solar array and other renewable energy purchase contracts. The City and County of Santa Fe, NM are researching creating their own publicly-owned electric utility.

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.

Happy to be Nominated

If you read green blogs, you've noticed there are a LOT of them. It's difficult to stand out in this big, green crowd. So, I was pleased that was included in a "Top 100 Green Blogs To Follow In 2013" list. Don't worry, I won't let the fame and glory go to my head.

"I just want to be nominated; beggars can't be choosers."
  - Nicole Kidman

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.

Why I Garden #33

Canyon Grape - Raisins on the Vine

Fall. Autumnal Equinox. The first hard freeze.

Frankly, the garden and I need a rest. I love a full season of planting, watering, weeding and harvesting. And I love the end of that season just as much. We had our first hard freeze several days ago and I'm happy to look out on a mostly dormant garden. I did expand the cold frame and will be planting hardy greens (Arugula, Mustard Greens and Spinach) to go with the Kale and Chard that have survived the freeze without complaint. I still need to mulch a few beds and will be turning the compost one last time this season.

Flushed With Pride

Dual-flush Toilet Conversion Kit - installed

I've finished many efficiency-oriented, DIY projects around our house. Some projects, like insulation, are nearly invisible and some are quite simple, like weather stripping. But few are as subtle, yet a regular part of our daily lives as this one. I've just installed a dual-flush conversion kit into the most frequently used toilet in our home. It's not something we're likely to show off to the neighbors, but it will help reduce our household water use.

Why I Garden #32

Fernbush blooming

Once again this summer I looked into the garden and saw new flowers on plant that hadn't bloomed before. Despite the ongoing drought the Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium) that we planted a few years ago decided to blossom. Scores of small, white, rose-like flowers with yellow centers popped up between the lacy foliage. Here is one more native plant that has thrived in our arid Southwestern climate with little to no attention.

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New Mexico Plant Materials Center - Fernbush

A Cabin Full of Inspiration

Aldo Leopold cabin in Tres Piedras, NM

There is something about the Southwestern landscape that inspires people. Whether it's the mountains and deserts, the distant horizon, or the technicolor sunsets I don't know. But, something about this place sparks people's imagination. Case in point - Aldo Leopold. Something happened while Leopold was in Arizona and New Mexico that drove him to write A Sand County Almanac and to think about conservation in a new way.

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