[Jo] I am so excited to finally begin the greenhouse. I can’t tell you how many plants I’ve lost, many tropicals laboriously trailored from Tampa, cuttings, seedlings, grafts. It’s truly disheartening to invest so much time, moneyÂ and effort in something, and see it die in a matter of a few days. In this climate, a greenhouse is not a luxury, but a necessity. We are learning that many plants that would normally be planted in the outside garden, like tomatoes,Â that may look great and even set fruit, can’t bring it to maturity at our altitude. Everything in this environment is an experiment. What succeeds and what fails tells us what will have to be grown in a protected environment.
Eric digging the greenhouse footer
The greenhouse will be attached to the side of the barn, with the roof just slightly below the barn roof. It will be fifteen feet wide and sixty feet long–”it’ll do for a start.” We’ve been collecting double paned sliders for four years for the glazing. It’ll be tall enough that winter sun will penetrate well into the back of the structure. It will have doors in the middle, and on the two sides, with ventilators to keep it from overheating (though I’m having trouble believing that will be much of an issue). There will be a misting bench, a bottom heated propagation area, 500 gallons water catchment off the roof, a mix of inground and container beds. The greenhouse will face south looking out over the outside raised beds. It will have a door into the living area of the barn, and windows between the two will deliver light and heat to the living area.
[Jo ] Finally, a year after we moved in up here (roughing it tho we be), we can brush our teeth in theÂ bathroom! We love the sink. The juniper pedestalÂ was cut from our own property and Aly and I beat the concrete basin into shape. The pics don’t do it justice–it really is beautiful, and the exposed copper is stunning. Wink outdid himself. Eventually it will have some cabinetry and shelving, but now we’re making do with a tv tray to hold our toothbrushes–and that’s ok!Â
[Anna] Bruce & Eric celebrated their shared birthday this month. We decided to open presents at breakfast and blowout birthday pancake candles. Bruce extinguished his candles first and then “told” his daddy to blow out his candles. I think that is the first time Bruce has ever let someone blow out their own candles.
Bruce took a little convincing that opening presents would be better than watching cartoons but he did warm up to it after Eric started.
Below Bruce & Juney are modeling their birthday clothes from their Grandma & Grandpa.
Auntie Gillian got him a robot dog that does tricks. Both kids are quite into it. Of course it took about an hour to figure out how to get it out of the box. Do you think Bruce is explaining to Juney about “no touch?”
We did make birthday cupcakes the night before. They were robot cupcakes inspired by http://www.flickr.com/photos/hello_naomi/2239866151/
As a party favor I made Bruce and his friend “Superboy” matching capes. I know the superhero theme doesn’t necessarily go with the robot theme … but it’s what I thought the boys would like. The cape pattern was inspired by http://pukingpastilles.com/?p=57. I did make some changes to accomodate Bruce’s sensory needs like using a light and flowing fabric and a button rather than velcro closure. And I made a pattern because I can’t freehand draw. The fabric I salvaged from Gillian’s stash. She’d originally used it as a luchidor cape for “Evil Jesus (hey-zeus)” in a movie short she costumed in San Diego. I stripped the sequins and the writing wasn’t too noticeable.
Here they are …. ready to save the world one playground at a time.
Bruce has hardly taken the cape off since his birthday. I was surprised he liked it so much. I really think the Aussie cowboy hat and red crocs complete the ensemble.
Not to be outdone … the girls got a little chat time too.
Pensive Gillian & Bruce
Woohoo … ride him … super giraffe boy
Yeahhhh. Our littlest primate is bipedal most of the time … butt scoots are still occasionally employed as a mode of transportation.
Bruce blows his horn. The question is … which Bruce?
It isn’t entirely obvious in the photo but wee Bruce is actually singing along with his Uncle’s trombone. At one point he was dancing too!
Where’s that trombone when needed. I guess eating all that organic food just wears you out.
[Anna] The apricot grafting project was basically a bust (see earlier posts) but it wasn’t a complete loss. Out of the 50 or so grafts we still have a Paiwand, Garkmish, & Almon whips plus 7 Manchurian rootstocks. We’ve decided to move them in the Fall after they go dormant since our Fall plantings seem to do better than Spring plantings up at the farm. The Spring winds are just so brutal. Actually, we’re also kicking around the idea of moving them into pots for another year or two since the 3-4 year old transplanted trees have had greater success rates than the 2 year old whips which seem to wither under the heavy clay, low water, & high wind conditions.
The photo shows the fenced bed with the apricot whips plus the 2Â mature in-ground (8 years now) Goldcot apricots which have born fruit the last 3 years. Last year was a low yield but we did have some fresh eating. This year we’ve gotten several pounds and will have enough to do at least one batch of canning. The Goldcots seem to bloom a bit later and longer than other apricots I see around town. We often lose the early flowers to frost but the later flowers produce fruit.
Wink, Jo, and AlyÂ helpedÂ our neighbors JimÂ and Sharon collectÂ hay for their horses. We loaded two trailors with 250 bales of premium grass bales (very pricey!). As we followed Jim, we saw a number of bales tumble off his trailor to the side of the road, but by the time we got his attention, the road was too narrow to turn around. When we got to a good stopping point, we noticed a really big hole in the back of our load. The guys went back to search for the lost bales after we unloaded the surviving bales–it was all gone–this is horse country!
[Anna] Lumbering the forestry contract has been interesting to say the least this season. We’ve had several major wildfires near us. Our cut is about forty miles from the farm, and the fires all lay betwixt here and there. The smoke from the various fires was amazing and nervous making! The Trigo fire took out around 59 homes near Manzano. Big Spring took another nine. Between them they burned between 15-20 thousand acres. There is an apple orchard/retreat/campground that survived the fires despite some scorching and the owners attribute their luck to some hard work–doing the same kind of thinning project with forestry that we’ve been doing.Â With a reduced fuel load, the flames raced through too fast to take hold. Forestry is using the property toÂ demonstrate the effectiveness of their projects.
Trigo Fire viewed from the farm.
Big Spring Fire viewed from the farm.
Â Needless to say, the forests have been closed to all activities for most of the summer to date, so our logging is in abeyance until the monsoons start.
Along with fires we’ve had some lovely other natural phenomenon. Check out the lovely summer hail storm that blanketed the courtyard.
On a lighter note … we’ve begun training the youngest member of the lumberjack team on proper head safety gear.
[Anna] Bruce doesn’t show much interest in many toys but he loves to climb & dig. For his birthday several of us decided to focus on outdoor heavy work activities. Eric and I bought him a dome climber. It’s made of PVC but it doesn’t get hot in the sun and it should be easy to repair. Plus, they’re made locally in Tucumcari so minimal petroleum was used in shipping … at least from the distributor to us. I can’t get into the embedded energy issue … too much deconstruction for my stress levels.
His Nonnie & Deedee salvaged large truck and tractor tires and made an awesome sandbox & climbing arena. The sand was provided by his Auntie Aly. Summer is short in the mountains so we also decided to just set it all up rather than wait till his birthday in July. It has been a hit. Bruce below is hanging upside down and Juney is contemplating how to do that.
Auntie Bel & Juney enjoy the sandbox. Bel helped me put the dome together along with Nonnie. It took longer than the instructions said it would but then we had two little helpers.
Deedee, Bel, & Bruce exercising a different part of the playground. With the climber, dome, sandbox area, kitschy garden art, and windchimes we are developing a really cool little Children’s Garden. We put in six varieties of strawberry for grazing, and gradually we will incorporate other plantsÂ (e.g., Russian Mammoth sunflower, vine covered teepee structure, bizarre pumpkins) that will intrigue kids. We’d originally planned on this garden being closer to the Big House but it is needed now by the barn so we’ve modified the grounds’ landscape plan.