Shameless self promotion

This is for sale.  It is hand spun from 80% merino wool and 20% silk.  As soon as I saw the roving I knew it wanted to become this scarf.  It is approximately 53″ long by 7″ wide.  Price is $70 plus $6 shipping, you can go to my Etsy shop,  Sedona Earth Knits if you would like to purchase this scarf.  The inspiration for this scarf comes from my favorite camping spot; the colors in the scarf echo the colors of the creek bottom, in the sycamore and juniper forest on a beautiful spring day:

Thank you for looking, back to your regularly scheduled programming 🙂

I’ll be posting items for sale occasionally; I am working on developing a business of my hand crafted items.  Like the chickens, I don’t expect to get rich from it, but I expect that my hobby will eventually pay for itself, and I will have the satisfaction of knowing my creations are out in the world with people who will appreciate them.

Crunchy’s Dry Humps Challenge 2010

Mm. Crunchy offers a challenge, with some background on the challenge at the link underlined.  I think this might be a good challenge for us to try (minus the garden watering).  I have been interested in a while in finding and implementing ways to reduce our water usage and maybe if I can do it hard core for two days, knowing lots of other people are also taking the challenge, then I can take what I learn from those two days and implement some of them regularly.

If you’re up to the challenge, comment and let me know, and be sure to sign up on Crunchy’s site as well!

Monsanto is now trying to patent….meat.

Really.  See the article about the patent filed on Jan 29, 2009 here.  Craziness.  Coming soon to a grocery store (and farm) near you, unless you act NOW by actually contacting your elected representatives, write letters, and generally DO something.

Here’s an international petition (and a link to the actual patent application too) you can sign, but remember:  that isn’t enough.  “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing” said Andrew Jackson, the first president in our nation’s history to actually singlehandedly make the effort to cut banking’s nefarious practices off at the knees.  He was prescient; he saw what they would become and did his level best to stop it.  Too bad he didn’t succeed.

Edmond Burke said that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Pay your price.  Don’t allow evil to triumph.  Sign the petition, and get active.

Independence Days May 16

Well, the weird weather is playing havoc with my plants.  We had a frost a few nights where there was no frost indicated — I put wool out to dry on the front deck and when I left for work it was frozen solid….so I lost about 14 of my tomato plants, and out of that basically all of my pomodoro tomatoes.  I also lost 1/2 my bush bean plants; all the ones that sprouted before the end of April died.  The cowpeas were also done.

The chickens got out yesterday and took out several of the tomato plants as well as a couple of tomatillos.  I asked our neighbor if he was hungry for chicken because I had four I was ready to kill.  They dug up all my freshly planted garlic but didn’t eat it, and ate the tips off a couple of my new asparagus plants.  So far, other than the tomatoes and tomatillos there seems to be no permanent damage done.


tomatoes: more Ida Gold, a Russian variety called Urbikany, more Sugar lump cherries, more San Marzano, Borghese, and a Mexican variety called Punta Banda.  I’ve had the packet of them for like two years, and never remembered to plant any.  So, here’s to hoping they germinate and do well.  I went to Home Depot to look for Roma plants in case I decided to break down and buy some, but they didn’t have any.  They did have a variety that is a hybrid and is supposed to do well in the heat.  Nope, didn’t get any, but I’d be curious to see if they live up to their name.  And if they produce a beefsteak type tomato or a roma type.

squash: I keep finding more volunteers in the garden!  I guess the Gods are telling me I’m going to be eating a LOT of winter squash this winter.  What I MEANT to plant — Serpent of Sicily and Zucchetta Rugosa Friulana.  Both are supposed to be more resistant to squash bugs than zucchini are; being in the native land of the squash bug I certainly hope that is so.  Last year I got very few zucchini because the bugs were so prolific that I literally couldn’t keep up, even picking them daily as well as using herbal pesticides.

greens: New Zealand spinach and regular spinach, chervil, and Swiss chard, of course.  I grew NZ spinach several years ago but we never got the courage to try any.  So, this year I’m going to make sure we do!  Even if we don’t eat it, the rabbit and the chickens will appreciate the greens, and anything that reduces my dependence on processed feeds for our animals is good.  The regular spinach I don’t really hold out hope for; I grow it every year and every year it bolts before we get to really eat any.  Someday I’ll succeed! I planted more lettuce, and it’s germinating sort of well.  I have really decided that my problems last year were mostly due to a lack of enough nutrition in the soils; I just didn’t manure well enough.  This year I’ve been much more generous with my application and I hope that the vitality of the peppers is a good sign that I got enough this year.

herbs and flowers: Dill, Lavender, blue poppies marigolds,garlic, and I suppose you could count chervil here too.  It makes a good tea flavoring.  I bought a lavender plant and it’s doing quite well for once.

misc: broccoli, watermelon, and eggplant.  It’s an Italian variety as is the broccoli; the climate (and the heat) are similar to here which might be why the seeds I get from this seed company are so prolific.  The watermelon is the famous Moon and Stars watermelon, which both Mr. TF and I are looking forward to trying.  I started feeling rather selfish that we were growing cantaloupe which he has an allergy to so got these seeds for us to grow instead.  He likes cantaloupe, it just makes his mouth itchy and I worry that one of these days it’s going to be more serious than that.  No point in pushing the issue.

The white eggplant I planted about two months ago are about 3 inches tall and seem to be doing well.  Hopefully they’ll be ready to go into the garden in another week or so; I want to make sure the night time temps aren’t going to stunt their growth before I put them out.

Mr. TF mowed down one of our raspberry bushes to the ground accidentally while weed eating; we have some serious weeds here in the desert and we need line with wire in it to get a lot of this stuff cut down; hence the ease with which the raspberry canes went ‘bye bye’.  He felt so guilty he went to Home Depot and bought another one (about three times the size) and just this morning dug the hole and planted it.  The other one I think will live, it’s got new leaves sprouting from the ground but it’ll be years before it produces any fruit.  Ah well, we weren’t expecting to preserve raspberries this year yet anyway.  And now we’ll ultimately have more than I was originally planning/hoping for.

I lost two cherry tomato plants after transplanting due to entirely too vigorous pruning on my part; I gave two away for Mother’s Day, and I have four that still look pretty good.  One has a broken stalk but is quite healthy looking above the break, and I have it twined to a stake, so I hope it will still produce fruit.

Waste:  I’ve done badly here.  I got a bag of lemons from a co-worker and they didn’t get juiced before some of them went bad.  They’re in the composter so it’s not a total loss, but I would have preferred to save the juice and peel.

Building local food systems:  Buying meat from my friends at Windy View Acres.  Soon to have goat’s milk and maybe some cow’s milk, if the new calf can spare a little.  I can’t wait for more feta and creamy cheese!!  Yogurt is great, but I do miss the tarter flavor of a good herb feta on a salad.  The best part about buying local like that is I both get to financially support my friends by purchasing from them, but I also get to put my money into a food system I trust.

Stores:  still using up what’s in the freezer; I think a cherry cobbler might be in our future tonight.  I found two bags of cherries in the freezer, and if I save all the good stuff for special occasions, we’ll probably never eat it all.  Using up the jelly by giving it to the kids, so I can have the jars back and make more.

That’s about it for this edition of Independence Days.  See you next time, trowel in hand!

I need a name for my …. farm (?)

Mr. Tin Foil went to lunch with a bunch of fellow HAM’s today.  One of the women had many many questions for him about our little 1/4 acre and how we do what we do.

Eventually, she asked what the name of our ‘farm’ is.  He replied that we didn’t have one (mostly because while I do consider what we do more than gardening, it’s a little small for a farm).  She said that of course we need a name, all farms have names!

So.  What’s is going to be?  Any ideas out there?

Independence Days Update


1.  tomatoes — Borghese, Ida gold, Black Krim, and Amish Candy Cherries. Also a mystery tomato plant I didn’t label.  I still have pomodoro to go in the ground; I ran out of steam before I ran out of tomatoes.

2.  peppers — California Wonder green peppers, Marconi reds.  Yeah, yeah, I know the CA wonders are hybrids…I had the seeds, and we use a LOT of peppers in a year.  I want to make sure we have enough without buying them when they’re on sale and freezing them like we have in years past.  And I’m hoping the Marconi’s will produce much better than they did last year (which is not at all).

3.  bunching onions

4.  collard greens

5.  yams

6.  mystery squash that sprouted in the compost (acorn?  butternut?  pumpkin?)

7.  lima beans, the cowpeas didn’t survive the late frost.

I had quite a scare when planting the peppers; I dug a hole with my hands and screamed bloody murder when a toad hopped out of the hole!  Gloves on and hand spade after that for this girl.

I planted garlic but the bulbs are old; they’re from what I got last spring.  I’ll give it a couple days and if they don’t sprout by Monday I’ll grab some from our harvest stores.

I built three new beds over the last two weeks; this was the first.  I built it while Mr. TF was napping  — our bedroom is above this bed and I am simply amazed he slept through the work! I would like to plant either chiles or tomatoes in this but I need to extend the fence around this part of the front yard first.  I’m not sharing any more of my stuff with javelinas, thank you!

Not a good picture due to the shade, but my little fig tree is LOVING being in the ground!  It’s leafing out like mad, and I hope it grows some as well.  It’s too young to hope for figs, but next year I hope to get a little crop.  I planted peas around the base, hoping they’ll give it a little nitrogen boost as they grow.

These are the other two new beds.  I built the farther one yesterday.  Mr. Tin Foil helped with putting soil and manure into it as it took me much longer than I had expected, due to needing to dig out weeds, fill in holes from the potatoes last year, and pull weeds.  The closer one has potatoes of various sorts, mystery squash, and collard greens.  The farther one has yams so far.  I am considering putting tomatoes in there as well; the yam vines will help retain moisture at the roots I am hoping.  The cut up barrels are what I grew potatoes in last year; I have volunteer potatoes in the closest one and I am considering using the others to grow strawberries maybe next year; I may also just move them closer to the fence and grow my cucumbers and zucchetta in them.  I have a ready made trellis in the fence, why not use it?

All of the new beds have weed cloth at the base, cardboard above that, manure, and soil mix.  I bought bags and bags of manure to compliment my compost because we simply don’t produce enough to replace what we use via the plants every year (yet).  I need to buy still more, and probably 8 or 10 bags more of soil for the further plans for expansion.  I think that was part of my problem last year; I didn’t have enough organic matter in the new beds and my harvest suffered as a result (like the peppers never growing, for instance).

Tomorrow is another weaving class, and a mandatory training session for work in the evening.  So this is my last day of vacation.  I ended up with eight days of consecutive time off, which is more than I’ve had in I think the last three years.  I’m not ready to go back, but I have had a chance to evaluate my source of discontent.  Part of it is, quite simply, I get no time to spend with my friends and family in spiritual communion or even just friendly togetherness.  I work on every coffee meet, I work most of our holidays, and I work most regular holidays too.  That and the fact that my weekend with three days in a row (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) literally takes me two weeks to recover from because of how my schedule works.  I dread those weekends.  I need to either drop one of those days entirely or I need to reschedule one of them for a different day, if at all possible.  I have developed a greater and greater stress, frustration and exhaustion with my job since my schedule was changed to this schedule, when I was still working the mid shift, and it’s only continued to worsen even with changing to days.  Going back to school certainly hasn’t helped matters, either….

I have my yearly evaluation coming up probably as soon as I go back on Friday.  I’m not anticipating anything great, but at least now I have had time to meditate, and to meditate on my reasons for discontent, and to try to find solutions.

A completely gratuitous photo of my granddaughter; her parents came out to our campsite to visit while we were camping and we went on a short hike.  She’s a perfect little tree elf!

The creek and canyon across from our campsite.  There’s a cattle trail next to the creek, and we walked a little way along that with the kids and baby.  She really loved being outside!  She was fascinated by the water.

It was very good getting to basically spend the weekend with friends and family I don’t see nearly often enough.  I hope we’ll be able to do this more; I hope things work out for me at work so we can.

The law got amended.

Which is as it should be; the very part I pointed out as being troublesome was amended to say arrested or detained rather than reasonable suspicion.  Amendments to SB 1070

Too bad Pearce shows himself to be a racist ass by these leaked emails.  Thankfully Koboch exercised restraint and common sense.  I am unable to find the article which quotes parts of these emails but surely ‘cars on blocks in the yard’ isn’t a reason to create a whole new bill to target ‘Mexicans’.  I’m pretty sure every city and municipality already has statutes in place to handle this problem, make them use them for Pete’s sake!

And regarding the ‘need’ to carry papers at all times, as though that were something new:  federal law requires that aliens carry papers at all times anyway. That has been in place since the 40’s.  Not new, people.  Plus, most people come from a place where they must carry papers at all times.  Nothing new here, just mandates to enforce laws already on the books…finally.

Pro\’s Ranch Markets fires 300 working illegally. I heard that some of the managers got fired too for helping the illegals get their forged documents.  At least legal citizens get a chance at a job now with the firings.  This is a small help for Arizona’s crap economy.

Relating to the crap economy:  I have heard that we NEED the illegals to pick our food for us.  Now, call me crazy, but isn’t that kind of a racist statement on its own?  Like legal citizens of whatever color/creed/ethnicity are too good for that, or too weak for it?  It seems to me that with the problem of obesity on the rise in this country, and an unofficial unemployment rate that is over 17% last time I checked, and with many people’s unemployment emergency extensions about to run out and NOT be renewed,  that working in the fields for minimum wage is a sight better than not working at all.  And that people will look at those sorts of jobs much more kindly vs. not eating or living on the street.  I could be wrong, but I’ve been in that situation and that was my take.