Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Thoughts

Here in New Mexico rain is a precious thing.  We have had no measureable precipitation in Albuquerque since May second.  That's nearly two months now. It had gotten to the point where I was watering some of my plantings every darn day.  So, when yesterday as I stepped out the door to head to work, the skies opened up and let loose with first hailstones then raindrops, I and every other gardener in the city whooped with joy.  It rained all afternoon.  It was still raining when my class was over and I headed across the parking lot to my car.  It was still raining while we ate supper.  It stopped long enough for a gorgeous break-in-the-clouds sunset, then rained off and on during the night.  We opened up every window in the house to let in the cool wet breezes for the evening, and left the bedroom windows open all night.  This morning when I went out to do my morning tour of gardens and planters it was like a new world.  Everything was perky and happy, refreshed in the way that only rain can bring.  All the watering and fertilizing in the world can't accomplish what one good long gentle rainstorm can. 

So, I have brought in most of the remaining lettuces and lots of herbs.  The greens are starting to bolt, they have reached their limit of heat tolerance.  I think there is one more harvest of lettuce greens, but they will be pretty bitter.  The arugula is growing apace, partly in the shade.  I need to thin it, bring in the thinnings for a salad.  In the past weeks of heat we have been eating salads just about all the time, varying them with sandwiches.  Even toasting bread for sandwiches has been almost too much heating of the kitchen.  We are impatient for the tomatoes and cucumbers to get busy and produce some fruit - but I have to keep reminding myself it's only the end of June.  The tomatoes have blossoms, the cuke vines are strong and healthy but no blossoms yet.  This year I haven't done too much with flowers, though the sunflowers and thithonia seedlings are getting ready for going into the ground.  The maximilian sunflowers (perennial native sunflowers) have spread hugely across the back of the yard and once they bloom they will be magnificent.  I lost some perennials over the very cold winter, and am taking my time deciding what to use for replacements.  The agastaches and mallows are about ready to bloom, which should bring more hummingbirds back into the yard. What we've had lately are flocks of bushtits in the front yard, at the suet and in all the small trees and shrubs.  They are such darling birds, so very busy and full of themselves. I'm thinking of a trip to High Desert Gardens either today or tomorrow, at least to stroll, observe, and think about what I'll buy next.  Soon I will be a lady of leisure (more on that in another post) and have time time time for all the gardening I can stand.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hands Across The Sand

If you live, work, or play anywhere near a large body of water you may run into some crowds tomorrow around eleven a.m. your timezone.  That's when the event being called Hands Across The Sand is taking place on beaches and shorelines all over the world. From the Grist article about the event: 
Saturday could bring the biggest public demonstration yet about the Gulf oil gusher, when Hands Across the Sand gathers people on beaches around the world at noon to hold hands in support of coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industries.
Organized by surfer and Florida restaurant owner Dave Rauschkolb, the dispersed event looks to be aiming for a surfer zen vibe, as opposed to the angry demonstrations against BP that have arisen in New Orleans and elsewhere. (The precedent, fellow young folks, is the 1986 Hands Across America chain.)
Even here in the desert we will be participating.  Here in Albuquerque we will be holding hands on the Bosque Bike Path that follows the Rio Grande, and on the old Alameda Walking Bridge across the Rio.  The Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and is therefore a wonderfully appropriate place to share in this protest.  I don't know if I can pull off a "surfer zen vibe," but Gail and I will add ourselves to the numbers gathering to make our voices heard across this planet.  I know it's late notice, but if you feel that we need to begin now (actually we needed to begin thirty years ago, but we'll take what we can get) working for a clean energy future that doesn't include ill-regulated freeform off-shore drilling, then check the Hands Across The Sand website map for your closest location.  All hands on deck, or on the sand, the bridge, the edge of the pond in your local park. 

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Natural Delights

In addition to wasting far too much time on Facebook, as mentioned in the previous post, I have been spending most of the spring outside.  Mainly outside in my own immediate surroundings.  The first spring task was to get rid of the weeds that sprang up in great profusion in the yard/gardens as a result of a somewhat wetter winter than we often have.  We managed to get most of that done before it began to warm up to summer levels.  It was a cool though hideously windy spring, and the spinach and chard that I planted in the late fall have continued to thrive.  In addition to those two I now have four different varieties of lettuce, cilantro, basil, as well as lots of  perennial herbs in profusion: sage, thymes, chives, tarragon.  We are rapidly moving into summer heat - by the weekend it will be at least one hundred degrees, maybe a little higher by Sunday and Monday.  So we are living on salads, sandwiches full of vegetables, and smoothies.  The kitchen gets so hot in this weather, that I can't even bear to turn on the stove.  The Growers' Markets are opening now, so there are loads of local produce available, in addition to the salad fixins in my own back yard.  I've planted tomatoes and cucumbers too, but it will be a good while before they show up. Exciting news is that Deborah Madison's new cookbook is finally out.titled  Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm and Market, it's one that I've been eagerly awaiting.  It will be awhile til I can afford it, but I can drool over it in bookstores, pick up some ideas while browsing.  There is so much gorgeous fruit available now, we have been inventing our own dessert delights - strawberries and watermelon in ginger sauce, mangoes and oranges with mint and lime, to name just a couple. Nothing fancy, but cool and delicious.

Facebook Ate My Brain.

I have been MIA from blogging for far too long now.  I think Facebook is to blame.  It seems to have eaten my brain. It's just too easy to spend a lot of time there, not really writing, or even thinking.  But I have to say I love it. I have reconnected with many people from past layers of my life; people I actually cared about, but since my life has always been quite peripatetic, I lost touch with classmates, friends, students, as I segued from one location/job/lover/incarnation, to the next. So, oddly, part of what I am enjoying on FB is the Search.  It speaks to the detective that has lived in me since the Nancy Drew years, and is evidently alive and thriving.  In addition to finding misplaced people from my past, I have also connected with an immediate community right here in Albuquerque, many of whom are very involved in local politics, others devoted to local gardening. These are communities with which I can interface (can we believe I actually used that word in that way??) in real time and space, some may in fact become Real, as opposed to FB, Friends.  So, if you're on FB and I don't know it yet, come visit over there.  I'm a shameless hussy for collecting more new friends, as well as getting back in touch with previous ones.