There have been plenty of things to keep life busy here, but that seems to be old news.

I did finally get my garlic planted. These were the biggest bulbs from this summer’s harvest and they were super nice. So these were the bulbs that I saved out of the harvest to plant for next year’s crop.

They are all nicely planted in one of the raised beds in my food garden, and next summer I expect we will have another wonderful garlic harvest.

And as far as the harvest goes, this was lunch this week and it included the last of the summer squash, our onions and garlic, carrots and some of the peas were ours. The rest of the peas, celery and the cashews came from the market. It was a delicious lunch served on top of udon noodles.

We’ve been planting for next spring and this is next spring’s comfrey crop.

And next spring we plan to have scented geraniums for sale in the Farm Stand store. Here they are as newly transplanted babies in their new clay pot homes. By spring they will be amazing!

We have two seed crops left to harvest in the field; muhley grass and yerba mansa. All the rest of the seed crops are picked now and waiting in huge paper sacks. This week we hope that the last two crops will finish out and Chris can pick them, but even if that doesn’t happen until next Thanksgiving week, he is going to start boxing up the seeds that are already harvested in preparation to ship them to Germany after Thanksgiving.

This is a sackful of Kniphofia triangularis seed. Boxing the seed up is a massive job. Each seed variety is put into huge cloth sacks, tied closed and labeled with the appropriate information required by German customs and the EU organic officials. Each sack must be weighed and then every box weighed and all that information is put into documentation. Once we have all the seed boxed and ready, then the Colorado Dept of Agriculture, on behalf of USDA, must give us a Certificate of Inspection with all the individual seed information listed to prove that the seed was grown here certified organic. After we are given the Certificate of Inspection, then the seed can be picked up by the shipper and off it will go on its way to Jelitto Perennial Seed Company in Germany. Once all this takes place, then we can finally say that the field season is officially over for this year and put the field to bed for winter.

Even as the seed crops are finishing ripening in the field and being boxed to ship to Germany, Lizz and I are growing the new seed crops for next spring’s field planting. Here are some of them starting to sprout in the greenhouse. We have 86 flats of 72 count cells of new seed crops sprouting as we speak. Chris and the field crew next spring will have their work cut out for them with all these new perennial seed crops to plant.

This week I also put all the potted greenhouse perennials to bed that we are wintering over for next spring’s sales. These are perennial varieties that are growing in 4″, 6″, 1 gallon and 2 gallon size pots. This process of wintering them over under frost blanket in an unheated greenhouse is called vernalization. In February I’ll uncover the plants, fertilize them and start to warm them up and by spring they will be nice in size and many will be flowering when we open the Farm Stand store in April for Open Farm Days and retail sales.

So, there has been a lot of plant work going on around this farm, but also we have been busy doing house maintenance work too. All the log work on our house must be given an annual coat of a wax-oil mixture that protects the wood and keeps it looking great. Chris has that all done now, but it was several days worth of work to apply the mixture with a paintbrush over every log – we have a lot of logs on this house now!!

I worked on sealing the foundation and the porch (Chris helped too). This was something we have been meaning to do since we redid the outside of the house three years ago, but we had never gotten around to getting the job done. Now it is done and the cement porches and the foundation of the house are all sealed up and protected from moisture. Yahoo!

We try to keep Sundays as our hiking day, so today we went for a hike to the Cowboy Cabin. On every single hike we take, Shrek does his “bone work”. He always finds at least one wildlife bone, and today he must have found close to a dozen of them. Thankfully, he doesn’t eat the bones, but he is quite serious about the work of finding a particular spot to bury them.

Not just any old spot will do for the bone burial. He carries the bone with him on the trail until he is satisfied that he has found the proper place and then he buries it with his nose, using his nose as both the shovel and the taper to settle the bone into its final resting place. Today he had a lot of “bone work” to do!

And then there was the game, with Chris, of pine cone tag. When we got to the cowboy cabin, they ran all around the surrounding meadow with Shrek playing keep-away with a pine cone in his mouth.

So, this is an old homestead cabin not too far from our farm on BLM land. It still has the old furniture inside and until half a dozen years ago it was clean enough inside for hunters to use the cabin for overnight stays. Then about 6 years ago, more or less, the cabin was taken over by wildlife critters and although it probably could be cleaned up enough to used again, it’s pretty dirty inside with a lot of wildlife scat. The cabin, remarkably, is in really good shape otherwise, and the trail that leads to it is a gorgeous gentle day hike. I especially like going there in the fall, as there is a lot of autumn color along the trail to enjoy.

I guess that is most of the news around here for this week. I’m hoping to finish up with my greenhouse seed orders (for seed we don’t grow ourselves in the gardens here) and get them turned in. Our plant labels are supposed to be arriving this week, and there are plenty of other things that will be on our list of tasks to do. Lizz is on vacation this week, but Beki will be here finishing up the new coat of paint on the greenhouse end walls and the new purple painted doors that I love so much. Next Saturday, Lizz, James and I will be attending a wholistic orchardists workshop, while Chris and Shrek take care of the farm. That is…if Shrek will stop cuddling his teddy bear long enough to go to work :-}




Greetings All,

Chris and I are hoping that you are enjoying this autumn season, even as we move towards December and the arrival of winter.

Here are the dates for November and December when Chris will be playing Jazz Music at  Ito’s Steakhouse & Sushi Restaurant in Florence, CO. Depending on the date, he will be playing guitar duos with either Guy Madden or Justin Allison, both excellent musicians  and singers. The schedule is below… Please come out and join us for an evening of great music and delicious food!!

Ito’s recommends reservations for Friday and Saturday nights – call 719-784-7556. The restaurant address is 114 W. Main Street in Florence, CO
November 3, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Friday)
Chris Hartung & Guy Madden
November 10, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Friday)
Chris Hartung & Justin Allison
November 11, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Saturday)
Chris Hartung & Guy Madden
November 17, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Friday)
Chris Hartung & Guy Madden
December 1, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Friday)
Chris Hartung & Justin Allsion
December 9, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Saturday)
Chris Hartung & Guy Madden
December 15, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Friday)
Chris Hartung & Guy Madden
December 30, 2017, 5:30-8:30pm (Saturday)
Chris Hartung & Guy Madden
​Chris Hartung
​Guy Madden

Justin Allison

In addition to the Friday and Saturday nights that Chris, Guy and Justin will be playing, here is the schedule for other nights of great Jazz planned at Ito’s. These nights also run from 5:30-8:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays:

November 4, 2017     Dwanye Zanotelli & Bill Finch (trombone/sax duo)

November 18, 2017     Tricia Parish (guitar/vocals)

November 24, 2017     To be announced

November 25, 2017     Richard Clark & Kimberly Sewell (piano/vocals duo)

December 2, 2017     Skip Moore (piano/vocals)

December 8, 2017      Carlos Crull & John Fujishiro (sax/piano/vocals duo)

December 16, 2017     Trisha Parish (guitar/vocals)

December 22, 2017     To be announced

December 23, 2017     To be announced

December 29, 2017     Carlos Crull & John Fujishiro (sax/pinao/vocals duo)

Yesterday, Chris and I took a drive to Truchas, New Mexico to pick up our order of baby heirloom apple trees which we buy each year from Gordon and Margaret of Tooley’s Trees.  These trees were grafted in spring March 2017 from their permanent orchard trees of hundreds of varieties of heirloom trees. They specialize in apples, but also do pears, plums, cherries, stone fruits like apricots and such, plus berries like currants, and then some really fantastic rose shrubs and other types of shrubs. Above is Gordon loading our little trees into our truck for the 5 hour drive home.

Meet Garrett and Kelsey, who are apprentices with Margaret and Gordon this growing season to expand their experience and knowledge in holistic orchard-keeping.

These are a few, and only a few, of the great many permanent fruit trees that live in orchards on the Tooley’s Trees farm.

This is a young apricot section of their orchards. I love apricots to the max, so I’m always thinking about apricot trees. We have several here on our farm too.

A few of the new varieties of apples we bought from Tooley’s to offer next spring include Northern Spy, Winter Redflesh and Scott’s Winter. We’ll have a really nice selection of fruit trees next spring for sale in our Farm Stand store that includes a great many other varieties of heirloom apples, peaches, apricots, and plums.

In case you can’t wait for next spring to shop at our Farm Stand store during Open Farm Days, well, Tooley’s Trees is open for this weekend and the next and then they will close until next spring too. They are open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Here is their website link Tooley’s Trees apple apricot cherry pear plum other trees P.O.Box 392 Truchas, New Mexico 87578 (505) 689-2400 .  You can still plant fruit trees this fall, so if your up for a 10 hour round trip drive to Truchas, New Mexico, consider going this weekend to buy a great fruit tree from Gordon and Margaret. The autumn colors on the drive there and back yesterday were amazing and beautiful and the trip was worth doing just to enjoy the fall colors, but heirloom fruit trees are really great and they have plenty of them! We will too next spring if you would rather plant your heirloom fruit tree in the spring next year.

Have a great weekend coming up and I’ll be back in touch next week. With Green Thoughts, Tammi

Hello from Kansas! We just finished the Mother Earth News Fair, so time to write a quick post to say thank you to everyone who attended my workshops this weekend and also to those who purchased my books at the Fair Bookstore. Thank you each and everyone!

I had a lot of fun at the Fair talking to others who share similar interests and thoughts. I enjoyed shopping at the bookstore myself and picked up a couple of titles that will be great additions to our home/business library. And I purchased a luxury item that I’m thrilled with…a new alpaca sweater!

I’m going to keep this post short, as my friend Rosemary and I are about to head out to find some good Thai food for dinner. Speaking of dinner, this was this week’s harvest in the greenhouse from plants I keep during cold months so that I can continue to have fresh produce to eat. I picked the last of the lettuce crop, there was 1 lime ready to pick and then there was the weekly harvest of purple beauty bell peppers and red robin tomatoes. I harvest about this many of each of those every week, sometimes more often if they are producing a lot.

Since my lettuce crop is eaten now, I’ve got a new crop coming up and some dwarf scotch kale and french paris carrots planted too. All of those should have been planted a couple of weeks ago, but life has been busy -too busy in fact- of late, so their planting was delayed a little bit. That means I’ll have a gap between this last harvest of salad greens and the next, but that’s ok. There are plenty of wild greens I can pick out in the garden like dandelion, mallow and such to make into salads in the meantime.

The fall color is amazing right now at home and here in Kansas too. This is a bigtooth maple tree that is growing in one of our hedgerows on the north side of our house and alongside of a row of wine grapes. It is finally coming into it’s own as it grows older and this year the color is just wonderful!

This was a grafted tree that Chris started about 23 or so years ago when he worked at Chatfield Farms at Denver Botanic Garden, then called Chatfield Arboretum. He gather the bud wood and grafted onto rootstock. These were grafted for good fall color and suitability to growing in the Colorado front range. As you can see the color has turned out to be stunning!

Well, this is short and sweet tonight. I’ll write more this next week. Until then, enjoy the fall color at your home.

The seed harvest continues to be one of our main priorities right now. With cold nights, the seed crops are ripening more quickly and every day there is quite a bit of seed harvesting to be done.

Last weekend Chris visited our family in Nebraska to see his parents, brother, nieces and nephews and their little kiddos. While he was away the seed harvesting fell to me. That’s how it is with farming…when one spouse is away, the other spouse fills the gap and does chores for both. We’ve been doing this for nearly 22 years now, so we’re pretty good at stepping into one another’s shoes when needed. It was a perfect weather weekend, and even though I was super busy, I enjoyed the work outdoors.

Above is some of the Agastache rupestris seed that I harvested. We lay it out in shallow boxes to dry for a day or two after we pick it. You can see the seed I picked on Friday is dry, and the seed I picked on Sunday is bright pink when I took this picture. I also moved aside some of the dried seed stalks so you could see all the tiny little brown seeds that have fallen out of the flower stalks into the bottom of the box.

The seed above is Kniphofia triangularis (common name is Red Hot Poker, but these are shades of orange, yellow, peach and tangerine colors). You can see the seed from Friday and above it the freshly picked seed from Sunday’s harvest.

Kniphofia triangularis

Every day since May we pick the Chocolate Flower seed (above). The Latin name is Berlanderia lyrata. This is a native southwestern wildflower and it gets its name because in the morning the new yellow flowers smell like hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookies! Chocolate with no calories…doesn’t get much better than that!

You can see in the picture above the yellow flower and next to it is a flower nearly ready to pick going to seed and next to that one is the brown dried flower with dark black seeds. Those are the ones we pick. This process of blooming to seed takes 3-4 days, so there is always a new batch of seed to pick on the chocolate flower each day. That will continue until hard frost, which for us is normally in November, although we have had two modest frosts already – that’s pretty early for us here in Canon City.

The frost hasn’t dampened the Nettles at all. She is growing as beautiful as ever in my garden. I will be harvesting this next week when I get home from Kansas and speaking at the Mother Earth News Fair. When I harvest the nettles, I’ll dry some for tea through the winter, and I’ll put some fresh in the freezer to use in cooking this winter.

Nettles is delicious cooked into soups and casseroles. You must use care or better yet, wear gloves when you harvest the nettles because when they are fresh they will leave a stinging sensation and tiny blisters on your skin if you handle them bare-handed. Once the nettles is dried or cooked, the “stinging”, which is caused by an oil called Formic Acid that is on the plant’s leaf and stem hairs, doesn’t happen. The oil evaporates when the plant is dried or exposed to heat as in cooking or brewing tea. If you do get stung by nettles, be patient, as the stinging and blisters will eventually fade away in several hours time.

Nettles is filled with vitamins and minerals and is very nutritious. It is an excellent health-supportive herb for every organ and system in the body, and has very beneficial medicinal properties as well. This is a tasty food plant (once cooked). If you know where to look you can often harvest nettles from wild places, but if you do this, use care that you are picking it in a place that has not been treated or exposed to any toxins like chemicals. Better yet, why not plant a patch in your garden or grow some in a large container. Just use care that you plant it in your garden in a location where people won’t brush up against it unaware and get stung. In my garden, the nettles grow away from the walking paths. This patch has been in my garden for nearly 22 years now and it is thriving and much appreciated by me.

So, just a brief reminder that I’ll be speaking at the Kansas Mother Earth News Fair this weekend in Topeka, Kansas. Check out their website for all the specific details. This Fair is mega fun and filled to the gills with opportunities to learn about an earth-friendly sustainable lifestyle.

A couple of years ago, Chris and I renovated the outside of our very dilapidated house. It’s now restored and a beautiful little stucco casita farm-house. When we did that work, we decided that we wanted to paint the trim and doors purple to make the house fun, beautiful and hold a flavor of the southwest were we live. Chris calls the purple our little bit of Hippie!

This fall it’s time to do some maintenance on our greenhouses and part of that is a fresh coat of paint on the end walls. Beki has been busy painting them to match the house and other out-buildings here on the farm, so now the greenhouse doors have a little bit of Hippie too. I love it! I think a purple door just makes you smile and feel happy!

The flowering kale in the garden is appreciating the cooler temperatures too and becoming more colorful. This flowering kale is fully edible, but it is also very beautiful in the garden, especially in autumn.

Shrek says it’s time to fill the bird feeders, so off I go. I’ll be writing again next week with tales of the Mother Earth News Fair and more.

This week the women of the farm repaired the bee yard shade structure! The frame was falling down and the snow fence on top was billowing down so badly it was threatening to knock over the bee hives. Something had to be done, so we took matters into our hands and fixed it.

We redid the structure frame and then positioned the snow fence on top to provide shade, but with a lot more support then it had before. Hopefully, when the wind blows or there is heavy snow, it won’t sag at all. The bee hives are safe once again.

Never underestimate the determination of three women out to save their honeybee friends!

We have had some adventures this week…

On Monday, we put a new plastic skin roof on the Goldfish Greenhouse. The old plastic was ripped badly in the 80 mph winds this past spring, so this was a greenhouse that had to be repaired before we can fill it with plants again in January. Now it’s done and it looks great.

Much of my week was filled working with Jelitto in Germany and the Colorado Dept of Agriculture to learn how to send our organic seeds with the new EU program called TRACES. The paperwork to export our seed to Germany has always been somewhat complicated, but now it is complicated and it must be done electronically getting everyone involved in the process. Since none of us have yet to send a seed shipment through this process, which has only become mandatory this month (October), we had a serious learning curve to master. It took us all week! Today, we got the export documentation finished and electronically sent, so now the seeds can go on their way. This was a trial run for us and only one box of seed involved, but later this fall when we send our big shipment from the seed harvest at least we’ll all have a better idea of how to do the process.

I’ve also spent copious amounts of my time this week making a Facebook page for Desert Canyon Farm. Once again, M’lissa to the rescue! Thank goodness for technology savvy daughters!! The page is up and functioning. It is a work in process and I have a lot more to learn about “being on Facebook”, so I’m requesting your patience.

This WordPress blog website will continue to be our primary source of communication, and this is definitely where you should look for specific details about farm happenings and updates on what Chris and I are up to, but at least we have a presence now on Facebook. Since Facebook is clearly how much of the world finds one another and talks to each other, we felt it was now time to take the plunge and put the farm on Facebook.

Last Sunday we went to the Sangres to hike the Cottonwood Trail and it had snowed in the Sangres quite a bit. Just before we hit tree-line there started to be patches of snow and up above tree-line there was quite a bit on the peaks. The white snow was a lovely contrast to all the fall color in the aspens and oaks. Even the wild roses had leaves that had turned scarlet red!

I also want to let you know that the schedule for the Kansas Mother Earth News Fair has been finalized and is up on their website. Here is the link to the workshops and other information you may be interested in. Topeka, Kan. Workshops | MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Mother Earth News Fair

My workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair are as follows:

Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine will be on Saturday from 3:30-4:30 with a book signing at 4:30 to 5:00pm the same day.

Herbs You Can Grow & Use That Are Also Wildlife-Friendly will be on Sunday from 3:30-4:30

Last year I also spoke at this Fair and the Fair is sooo much fun. If you can attend, please try to do so. You’ll learn a lot and have a blast!

Tonight and Tomorrow Night

Tonight (Friday, October 6th) and tomorrow night (Saturday, October 7th) Chris and fellow musicians, Dan and Guy, will be playing from 5:30 to 8:30 at the ITO Japanese Steakhouse in Florence, CO.

Friday night, Chris and Dan will be playing jazz  with guitar and trombone.

On Saturday night, Guy and Chris will do a jazz guitar duet with Guy singing.

Both nights are bound to be great and I hope you’ll come by and support these men and their music. The food is really good at ITO’s and they serve Japanese, sushi and Thai food. Maybe I’ll see you there!

I think that is about all I have to share for now. Check out our Facebook page if you get a minute, but come back to this website often for all our Farm and personal news.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

I’m quite excited to show you the 2017 Thomas Debaggio Award and book seals given to my recent book Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine. The award and seals arrived this week in the post. You should start seeing the seals on copies of my book now in bookstores and online book sellers.

Yay…I finally, finally got all the plants into the gardens this past weekend! I can’t believe they are finally planted. Just in time too, because we’ve been getting the most glorious light rain this week, but it’s not too cold – perfect for welcoming newly planted plants into the soil of a permanent garden home.

We are planting now in the greenhouses for spring 2018. That means moving plants into larger sized pots, starting the vegetative propagation schedule of cuttings and root divisions. Next week we will do the first big seeding cycle of perennials. So, this means it was time to put the heat propagation mats back on the benches so the newly stuck flats of cuttings have warm soil to grow their roots into.

Below are the first flats of cuttings to be placed on the heat mats. There is a new crop of mints, which really don’t need the heat, but if there is room on the mats they like it and appreciate the extra warmth. Also on the mats are the bay tree cuttings, hardy fig cuttings and passionflower cuttings, plus root divisions of madder (a dye plant we hope to sell next spring).

It has been quite the abundant tomato year in my garden. In fact I’ve had crock pots full of simmering spaghetti and tomato sauce going every day for the past couple of weeks. Every other day I harvest tomatoes by the big bowls-full (enough to fill the crock pot yet again). There are tigerella, zapotec mexican, striped caveran, german pink heirloom and peacevine cherry tomatoes – and they are going gang-busters!

If you have a lot of fresh tomatoes in your garden and it’s more than you can use for fresh eating, consider getting out the crock pot and making a pot of spaghetti or tomato sauce to can or freeze to use later in winter or next spring when fresh garden tomatoes won’t be happening in such abundance.  This approach to cooking the spaghetti sauce is about as easy as anything could be…here is what I do:

Fill the crock pot 3/4 full of fresh tomatoes (if they are large slicing tomatoes – cut them in half or quarters, otherwise you can just drop them in the pot whole with stems removed)

Chop coarsely 1 large onion, several peppers (your choice of sweet or spicy), two sticks of celery, 2-4 cloves of garlic. Fill the pot 1/3 full of chicken or vegetable broth or plain water works too. Add a generous teaspoon of dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary (you can add other herbs or different herbs if you prefer).

That’s it…put on the lid and set the temp to high for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes adjust the temperature to low and allow it to cook away for the entire day. Halfway through the day, I use a potato masher to mash-up all the ingredients in the crock pot to make them more like spaghetti sauce texture. If you have a food processor, you can use that for this task. Then put the mixture back into the crock pot and allow it to keep on cooking. I usually let mine cook all day and through the night, but all day will be enough if you’re in a hurry. Then turn off the crock pot and allow it to sit on the counter and cool. Then it is time to either eat the spaghetti sauce straight away, freeze it in freezer containers or can it if you prefer that method of storage. Enjoy.

Oh, and if you don’t already know, there is a recipe for Crock Pot Apples on the Recipes page of this blog. This is one of my favorite ways to cook because it is so easy, delicious and practical for busy lifestyles. Get to it and start cooking up all that delicious garden fresh produce you have. Soon the garden will be finished for the season or nearly so, so enjoy every bit of it while you can.

This is how it all looks at the start of the process.

Now, I also want to mention sunberries, which is an annual berry fruit that you can grow to eat fresh or freeze and enjoy them during the winter months with yogurt and nuts for breakfast or cook into a cobbler or crisp with other fruits like peaches, cherries or raspberries, even apples are great.

Sunberries are billed as an alternative to blueberries if you live in an area, like I do, where blueberries really are not happy growing. I personally think that sunberries have their own unique flavor, so I really don’t think of them as tasting like blueberries – they are sweet with a hint of melon flavor to me.

The sunberry plant is an annual, grows fast, and produces zillions of these sweet berries. You must wait to pick them until they are deep blue like blueberries. If they are green or just starting to turn blue, they will taste terrible, but once they are ripe they are really sweet and good! They are the size of a pea or a small blueberry. One of our farm visitors to the Farm Stand store came this spring and was looking for these plants on the bench. He had purchased them the past two years and he loves the flavor. His exact words were “Sunberries are aphrodisial”! I believe that is another way of saying they are quite delicious, aye!

So, I grow Sunberries and Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries (see past post) as a way to add different fruits to our diet. They are quite nutritious too. In the garden, plant them where they are in part shade or full sun and water regularly. In my garden that means watering happens ever 4 days for a 1 hour cycle in each area. I also grow both of these plants in large containers, which I can bring indoors when the weather turns cold, and keep harvesting for a few more weeks indoors. They make a great patio container if you don’t have actual garden space in the ground to grow your food plants. If you have a sunny bright place in your house, you can even grow these indoors all year long.

I think that is all for this post. It’s time to go sit with my stitching for the evening. That is what the autumn and winter seasons are for in my mind…stitching time with my hand needlework. I rarely get time to work on stitching during spring and summer, so when autumn comes my evenings belong to colored threads. Cheers!

The brown-eyed susans {Rudbeckia triloba} are so beautiful right now in the garden.

So are the volunteer sunflowers in the south bird garden. Hope they make you smile too!