[Jo] Wow! Long time since the last post! The whole family got whooping cough over the holidays and are just now feeling human again. Since we have been essentially snowed out on the mountain, it was a good time to be sick (not that there is ever a good time for that!). There is still a significant amount of snow up there, and ice too from the melting/freezing/remelting–and mud is everywhere else. There was an unusual amount of freezing weather. Pipes burst inside and out despite the insulation packed around them when the light bulbs we had on them burned out. We had to replace the water pump because of the damage.
Just haven’t been able to do much–very frustrating. We’re at the stage when we need to use the sawmill to cut the beams and joists, but there’s just too much snowÂ to safely manhandle the logs. Can’t work on our logging and thinning projects, either, for the same reason. And all over Albuquerque, crocus are popping out, bulbs are emerging. We’ve been working outside in the yard in t-shirts the last two days! And 40 minutes away, its still winter…have some lovely pics of the snow, but my external hard drive melted, with all my photos…
But we have exciting projects coming up. Friend Patrik is receiving grafts from UC at Davis. The plant material originates fromÂ central asia andÂ the middle east where climate, altitude and soil conditions are similar to NM. There are apricots, grapes, and otherÂ fruit cultivarsÂ that are mostly unfamiliar to American growers. The material will be shared among 6 groups including us. One of the group members will do all the grafting onto rootstock that Patrik has selected, hopefully with help from all. Each group should wind up with several hundred grafts. The plan is to evaluate the plants for a variety of characteristics–hardiness, drought tolerance of course, but also for sweetness, keeping quality, edible pits, disease resistance, wind tolerance, response to pH, etc, and keep meticulous records so our experiences will be helpful to others.
Eric continues to give bio-diesel workshops–the one in January was a “stunning success.” Last weekend, he helped a couple of former students assemble aÂ biodiesel cell and the coop continues to develop astablishing “sleeper cells” hither and yawn. The next workshop will probably be in May. Eric has been approached by several film makers for possible inclusion in their works about renewable energy.