April, 2016

...now browsing by month


The cussingest project ever

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Back in December, a friend of ours said he was getting rid of a small greenhouse and asked us if we wanted it. “Sure,” we said, especially with all the recent damage to our gardens from critters. A more sheltered environment sounded very appealing.

So in January, we went out to move this greenhouse. It was a very cold and windy day, and the greenhouse didn’t come down easy. It clearly wasn’t meant to be disassembled and reassembled. Also, the plastic material in the panels was beginning to fall apart. (Not coincidentally, the greenhouse was seven years old, which was the duration of the warranty.) The sound of the plastic panels breaking as we did this made me cringe, and by the end of the day, my hands and feet were numb with cold. Even taken apart, the parts barely fit in our truck bed, and we had to drive very slowly partly with Brad in the back.

This was the first of many times, we reconsidered the decision to proceed with this.

As with any construction here, we had to consider high winds, so the first thing we did was plan to pour a partial concrete slab to anchor the greenhouse to so it wouldn’t blow away. We also dug out the whole area that would be the interior beds in the greenhouse so we could filter all the dirt. (This is a standard part of making beds here because of all the rocks in our soil.) We also decided to put wire mesh hardware cloth about 6 inches below the floor of the beds to try to prevent rodents from tunneling in. All of this was quite a bit of work.


the site before we began


the dissembled greenhouse (ugh)


concrete done and screening down


filtering dirt

Next, we began putting together various pieces of the structure. Of course, being spring, we had some windy days during this and so had to use various bracing and hope for the best.

Along the way, more plastic broke, and it was evident that the roof needed to be completely replaced. We considered several options (the same corrugated polycarbonate material as the original manufacturer, sheet plastic, clear corrugated roofing material, etc.), and ultimately decided to go with clear corrugated. Though it wasn’t cheap, it was easy to work with and seems like it will be very durable. Eventually, we are likely to be replacing the material in the walls as well and may use the same material.

Four months from beginning to end, we finished it this weekend.

One concern we have is that the greenhouse may get too hot and kill what’s growing in it. We installed a new vent to try to forestall this and may put in additional screening and shade cloth as well.

For now, I am very eager to get things growing in here. It’s the time of the year for lots of new little seedlings to go in so the timing is great. Stay tuned for updates.




inside, including shelving


clear new roof

Off and running

Friday, April 8th, 2016

So our new farmers market started last week to great fanfare. We had great attendance and sold nearly everything we took. It’s a little early in the year for much from the garden so I took a lot of microgreens, bread, and other baked goods.


There were so many people there the first week that I wondered if anyone would come the next week. But then this week was just as good. A little different traffic pattern — a few less people and nearly everyone in the first 20 minutes or so — but we sold just as much. The community has shown great support.

This week I added dried beans, focaccia, and pizza dough to what we were selling. (Others are selling asparagus, but we’re opting to eat all of ours. :) One thing I’m seeing clearly is that prepared food sells faster than anything.

It will be good to have more produce available to sell as we get more into the summer.


Monday, April 4th, 2016

A few weeks ago, I saw an announcement on Twitter about an upcoming open house at Spaceport America. It was free, and we’d always wanted to visit, so we sent in for tickets.

For those who don’t know, the spaceport concept is to create a sort of airport for space travel. There are 10 spaceports in the country, and they are a part of the plant to privatize and commercialize space travel.

Spaceport America is about 4 hours from us in New Mexico, east of Truth or Consequence and west of White Sands. While the facility itself is state-owned, it’s main tenant and sponsor is Virgin Galactic. Other tenants include SpaceX and Google.

The open house was great. We saw the main hanger, which is an amazing building, and a training simulator of Virgin’s latest ship.

Interesting facts from our visit:

  • The huge 110,000 square foot hanger we were in (see pictures below) is LEED Gold certified. Very impressive.
  • There are both horizontal and vertical launch areas at the facility.
  • Spaceport benefits from a partnership with White Sands, giving them access to that protected airspace.
  • There are a number of revenue streams beyond the renting of space and construction of terminals for various space companies (“design your own spaceport.”). These include renting the facility out as a movie set and leasing it for events. (We learned all about this through a rather odd presentation by the Spaceport’s business development team. They seemed to have regarded everyone in the audience as potential customers.)
  • A lot of very rich (mostly older people) have pre-booked their tourist trips to space. There is no projected date for when these might happen, but it doesn’t seem like it will be any time soon.

And for those interested in a space-themed visit, this isn’t too far from the Very Large Array. There are guided daily tours of Spaceport available for a whopping $50.

After our Spaceport visit, we went to the hot spring spas in Truth or Consequences. (Yes, this town changed its name in the 1950s as a part of a contest sponsored by the game show.) They were fabulous and are highly recommended. We stayed at one on the banks of the Rio Grande, which had more water flowing than we’ve ever seen.