April, 2011

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Asparagus and Pomegranates

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

One of the myriad of interesting neighbors around here gave us enough starters for five nice sized asparagus plants. Yum. His are awesome and I can be sure of that because Karen cooked up a mess (as Craig called it) of it that we got along with the plants to grow our own. One thing I didn’t know about asparagus is that it’s ready to eat pretty early in the year–maybe as early as February. That’s great news. One thing about growing your own food is that there are times when nothing is ready. You have to work at finding things that produce in the off times.

Craig did warn me that these can be a bit of a pest. All the ones he gave me were volunteers growing right where they were not wanted. (Mostly in the middle of his garlic.) We planted ours down near the solar panels which may become the perennials area. We have two pomegranate plants there already.

Asparagus crowns waiting for planting

Asparagus crowns waiting for planting

Asparagus in its new home

Asparagus in its new home

Five new asparagus in their desert home

Five new asparagus in their desert home

A pomegranate tree/bush year one, planted in the fall

A pomegranate tree/bush year one, planted in the fall

Transforming the Lizard House

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

My plants are doing just great with both tomatoes and eggplants getting buds on them. They will be blooming soon, but are still in the house due to gale force winds this week. I have put them out to “harden” a few times and cringed watching them get beaten by the wind.

Today Brad decided to do something about that and set out to transform the lizard house (also known as the greenhouse) into a real greenhouse.

He began by building plastic covered frames (in my office only temporarily).


He then bolted them to the greenhouse posts, which should protect the plants from the wind, while still letting in sun. The bit of airspace above and below should keep it from becoming a steamroom.



Oh and Brad’s garlic are doing just great too. (They’re envious of the enclosed greenhouse though.)


New kinds of visitors

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

We had two “firsts” at the ranch this week…visitors who come with their own accommodations…


And a canine guest… Mattie sure loved running on the open range!

And of course, we enjoyed our time with Don and Nora so much!

This week has made me reflect on how much support we’ve gotten from our family and friends for our little project here. To all of you who read the blog, keep up on us, visit us out here, and cheer us on, THANK YOU! It is so much nicer doing this with all of your encouragement.

In an unrelated note, baseball is back at Bisbee at the oldest professional ballpark in the U.S.  We’ll be going to some games this summer.

Always something new

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011


My baby plants outside to start “hardening”


Current state of the houses

Spring is in full swing here. It has been warm and lovely all week. The wind has finally died down, and the garden is thriving. We ate our first spinach of the year. Brad’s garlic are shooting up in height and doing great (under some cover now being protected from the quails). Peas, lettuce, and arugula are all doing well outside. The tomatoes and eggplants are outgrowing their pots and have started venturing outside in preparation for transplant, which I hope will be within a week or so.

We are moving ahead with building but having a few fairly major reconsiderations. One is that the on-going pursuit of someone to make adobe bricks for us is resulting in no good options. The price to have bricks made on-site here is escalating, in part because it is not a huge order. (We are only doing a few walls in adobe.) We have talked to several folks about making bricks for us elsewhere, but shipping 36,000 pounds of bricks isn’t very feasible. The project seems simultaneously not big enough and too big. So we are considering (and I am taking a deep breath as I write this) making our own bricks. We’ll see. I am still hoping for another solution, but as Brad says, we are always happier with work we can do ourselves.

Along that same line, as we were getting ready to place the final order for the SIPs for the roof, we had a second thought about that. They are quite expensive and the contract from the supplier was onerous. I wondered out loud about other options. Several phone calls and emails later, we are now considering i-joists with the same spray-in insulation we’ll use between the two external walls. The potential advantages are: 1) cost (and no contract risk) and 2) easier to do the work ourselves. If the R-value is comparable (which we are investigating), we may go this route.

Not much else going on here. We have some visitors coming this week and are also planning a very small neighborhood party for late in the month. The birds are singing, and life is good!