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The pine siskins have been back at the farm for a week or so now and they are enjoying the thistle feeders a LOT! They have been going through the thistle like crazy, actually, but I don’t really mind. They are sweet little birds and they are actually quite social towards me. They usually sit patiently on a branch nearby while I fill the feeders, and occasionally they sit on me, usually my shoulder or my head. It is such fun having so many different kinds of wild birds here at the farm. I never get tired of listening to them or watching them. This feeder is just outside my office window, so I can take in all the bird and squirrel antics while I sit at the computer and work.

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Chris and I found a new place to hike this past weekend near our farm. We found it sort of accidentally, as we were hiking the cowboy cabin trail and decided to take a branch trail off of that to see where it would go. It turned out to be an excellent trail and no one was using it, so we had the woods to ourselves. Very nice! This gnarly old juniper tree, long dead, but so beautiful and interesting, was along our walk. It is no longer living, but it is still contributing to the ecosystem as housing for wildlife and its dead roots are still holding soil in place preventing erosion. Some would see it as a useless dead tree, but it’s work on this earth is not yet finished, and I honor the contributions it continues to make to the space and habitat around it.

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Last fall and winter we had repairs and renovation work done to the outside of our house, as you will remember if you are a regular reader to this blog. This winter I’m working on the inside walls and I’m in wallpaper hell! Our kitchen has wallpaper on two large walls and I’m removing it so that I can put on fresh paint. Removing wallpaper is clearly a nightmare task, and I’ve decided that I will NEVER have a piece of wallpaper in my house again! Thank goodness there are only these two walls to do, but at the rate it is going it might take me the whole winter to accomplish the removal from those two walls. Needless to say, I’m not having fun with this project so far. Enough whining, though, it will get accomplished.

Well, time for me to get to work on Farm Stand signs. M’lissa, Lizz and I are working on these and since there are well over 600 signs to create we have a lot of work to do. I guess I best get to it.

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday.


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This week has so far been all about getting things done in preparation for the winter’s cold temperatures. Perennials that will be over-wintered have been relocated into unheated spaces and today I covered them with frost blanket for extra protection. Every few weeks I’ll uncover them and check to make sure they don’t need watered, but otherwise they are now encouraged to go dormant and sleep away the winter months until end of February when we will uncover them again and start to encourage them to actively come out of dormancy.

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I also relocated all the heirloom fruit trees into a protected place, mulched them with straw around their pots so that the roots won’t freeze and there they will stay until it’s time to open our Farm Stand in spring. They have been slow to lose their leaves this fall and I’m hoping that they will soon get to the business of going dormant for the winter.

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We have been working in earnest now at propagating things for next spring’s inventory. Lizz divided the Kava Kava and the Ginger, along with Horseradish and Comfrey this week. She has been working on cuttings and sowing perennial seeds, especially a lot of native varieties that we hope to have available in the Farm Stand next spring. It is so much fun to see all those little seeds starting to germinate. Soon there will be oodles of seedlings needing to be transplanted. A big accomplishment is that Lizz has the magic touch and has been able to get some fernbush cuttings to root! These are notoriously difficult to get to root, so I’m quite excited that this has happened. Now if we can keep them happy through winter…time will tell.

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These are baby cape violets that will be for Farm Stand sales too in spring. They take quite a while to get to a nice size in a 6″ pot, so we start them now so that they will be beautiful and periwinkle blue flowers by April. They are such cheerful beings!

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Sadie thinks all this work is just sillyness! In her opinion, and I am speaking with her permission as she is sitting on my lap right now as I’m writing this post, the fall and winter seasons are for relaxation. She’s quite good at that!

Have a wonderful week!


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Recently, we enjoyed a number of campfires, once with our friends James and Michelle and several times on our camping trip. Of course, camping is not really camping if you don’t have a fire in the evenings, right!

It made me realize how much I missed having a fire pit in our garden. When we lived at the arboretum when we were first married 21 years ago, we had a fire pit there and we would enjoy a fire in the evenings. So nice and so relaxing. Anyway, I decided to transform my garden to make the central point of it a fire pit. I’ve been working on it the past several days, with more work yet to be done. It’s fitting in nicely with my plan to make special areas in the garden of perennials and herbs, combined with more shrub areas, and now the fire pit with room for seating around it. The garden is becoming a totally different place and I’m really liking it so far.

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That’s the news for now. I’ll be back in touch soon with more news about the happenings around here.

With Green Thoughts,  Tammi

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Chris has been bringing in the seed harvest (well, Lizz and I’ve been helping too, but he’s doing most of it). Most of this seed goes to Jelitto Perennial Seed Company, but we also harvest seed from our gardens to use in our own greenhouse growing production.

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Here are some tomatoes that will be used for seed. The Flint Red  and Flint Yellow were gifts from Perennial Favorites so that we could add those varieties to our offerings next spring. We also saved Tigerella and Striped Cavern for seed, as those are varieties I cannot buy organic seed for and we love them so much that we have to make sure we always have seed.

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After the seed is completely dry it lands on Lizz’ task list to clean and eventually plant. She has been spending lots and lots of time cleaning seed in the past few weeks, getting it ready for sowing later on.

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This past week Chris and I took our annual camping vacation to southern Utah to hike in the canyons of Cedar Mesa. We love this area and it’s been two long years since we have been able to visit, so this year we made sure to get our trip planned early. We had a LOT of pouring rain and many roads that weren’t passable as a result of all that rain, so it did put some limits on where we could access to hike, but we managed to have a great time and find some wonderful places to hike filled with ruins and petroglyphs. Here’s a sampling of what we saw…

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Rock art at Rounded Knob in Arch Canyon.

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This was in upper mule canyon and there were three cliff edges that had sets of ruins on them. You can sort of see them in this photo, but mainly you can get a feel for where they were. This was tucked way up in the top of a very deep mule canyon!

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Here’s a photo of the same ruins up close as Chris climbed down to have a close up look. Shrek and I stayed on the canyon rim and watched him climb down to the ruins. No place for a dog to go and neither for me, as I have a serious fear of these kinds of heights.

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This was on a different hike. These ruins are named Ballroom Cave ruins. This was the first time we have visited this canyon and these ruins and they were wonderful.

Amazing scenery every single day!

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Evenings were in camp in Comb Wash and as the sun started to set it lit up comb ridge, but this is Chris and Shrek taking it easy with lower mule canyon in the backdrop.

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Needless to say it was a good trip. Now we’re back home, trying to re-organize ourselves after being gone for a few days and back at work on Monday. Actually, I’ll be back at the book editing project this weekend. Chris is preparing for several upcoming jazz gigs, and of course there is the dog to walk and kitties to love…life is full!

Last Friday we hosted nearly 75 fifth graders from Harrison school, who came to see what a working organic farm is all about. We talked about greenhouses, seeds, all kinds of systems that help our farm function, like the solar system, the windmill that powers our pond bubblers so the fish can be healthy, irrigation and planting…all sorts of interesting stuff.

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Here they are preparing to clean hollyhock and onion seeds from the seed pods, so that they can plant the seeds to take back to their classroom.

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If all those seeds grow that these kids planted there are going to be a lot more hollyhock and onion plants out there in the gardens of Canon City!

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As they were preparing to leave for the walk back to school, I passed out garlic chive plants for them to take home and grow as a windowsill herb. They’ll be able to use those garlic chives in their cooking this winter.

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The week before the fifth graders came to visit, Chris, Shrek and I hiked up to Meagan Lakes. Since its fall the lake, which is pretty large actually, is very shallow as it is a long time since there has been much moisture happening in the form of rain, and no snow yet for this alpine lake. The entire lake was only about 6-10″ deep no matter where you checked. A lot of trout fish could be seen darting around the rocks in the water.

So, Chris and Shrek decided to do some rock hopping to get out into the middle of the lake to eat their lunch. Only Shrek discovered the trout swimming about, and honestly, I don’t think he’s ever paid attention to fish before, but this time he certainly did.

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He pounced and raced and darted and dashed all over that lake chasing trout…of course, to no avail. Those fish were much more savvy and quick than our dog, so there was no risk that he would catch any. He did have a really good time for more than an hour. Then it was time to hike back to the truck, which we did.

The next day Shrek was limping and we couldn’t see anything wrong, but clearly his foot was bothering him. So, off to Dr. Jeremy we went for a looksie. Jeremy concluded that Shrek had sprained his toe being the trout dog. I guess the fish will have the last laugh about that, aye. Shrek is back to normal now, so soon we’ll be off on another hiking adventure I’m sure.

This week is being spent doing some editing work for my upcoming book with my editor at Storey Publishing. I’ve spent the entire day today working on the sections about Cattails, Blueberries, Cottonwoods, Alder, Amaranth and other plants. For the next few weeks this will be how I spend a great deal of my time…that and trying to get the seed orders for next spring done. If you don’t hear from me for a little while, you’ll know that’s what I’m up to and I’ll be back writing the blog as soon as possible.

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Here is a carn ( a pile of rocks placed carefully on the hiking trail to act as a marker so you won’t lose sight of which way to follow the trail) to guide you on your journey this week.  I think it may be the biggest carn I’ve ever seen!

It’s officially autumn now with the autumn equinox this week. We’ve finally gotten temperatures in the 80’s instead of the 90’s, but it still feels very warm for end of September. It’s also really, really dry. We had a 1/2″ of rain this week, which was our first rain for many, many weeks and so needed, but not nearly enough. Still, we are in gratitude for all moisture that finds its way to our farm land.

With autumn comes the final days of vegetable harvesting. I’m still picking raspberries every other day, and the heirloom tomatoes are continuing to produce well, but the cucumbers and summer squash have slowed to almost nothing to pick. The same is true for peppers. I will have a lot of volunteer squash and gourds this year that came up on their own in our recycle soil pile. They’re not quite ready to harvest, but it won’t be much longer.

In the greenhouse I’m picking salad lettuce, red robin tomatoes, strawberries and carrots, all of which are being grown in fiber box containers this year to facilitate an ongoing harvest of food throughout the winter months. I could have left the strawberry boxes outdoors, but there was room on one of the benches in the Plant Barn, so I brought them in early.

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These are Kakai hulless pumpkins, which I grew for the first time in my garden this summer. They are a small pumpkin, appropriate for containers if your container is decent sized (at least 20″ diameter).  The seeds do not have hulls on them, so when I cook up these pumpkins I will simply wash the seeds and then roast them in a cast iron skillet with just a touch of butter and coarse sea salt. They’re going to make a most delicious snack!

heirloom tomatoes

This summer I grew several different kinds of heirloom tomatoes in my food garden, as I always do, but this year I mostly just planted my favorites. You can see them here.

The pillowed red and orange striped large tomatoes are Striped Cavern. They are semi hollow inside and perfect as a stuffing tomato for chicken salad and such.

In the very front of the brown bowl is a pinkish red tomato, which is German Pink Heirloom. I always grow these every year, as they are probably my most favorite of all the large tomatoes I’ve grown through the years. These get huge and early. I usually start harvesting them around the end of July, which is pretty early for big sized tomato fruits.

The medium-sized red and orange striped tomatoes are Tigerellas, another favorite I grow each year. These have wonderful flavor and are the perfect size to chop into salsa, add to salads, top pizza with, and so forth. The plants are heavy producers and I always have loads of harvest to put in the dehydrator so that I can have these to use all winter as dried tomatoes.

Finally, the cherry tomatoes that are deep purple are called Black Cherry tomato. They are sweet as anything and pretty large as cherry tomatoes go. We used to say that sungolds and white cherry was our favorites, and those are really yummy, but this one has become our most favorite cherry tomato right now. The plants get huge and wily, so you have to plan to give them a good amount of space in the garden, but your reward for that is bowls and bowls of black cherry tomatoes, and I’m talking large bowls!

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As summer comes to a close and vegetable plants are beginning to get tired and worn out from producing so much harvest, the aphids always tend to arrive in mass. I don’t worry much about them, because by this time of the season they really aren’t going to cause very much harm and the plants are nearly done producing anyway. I leave the birds to do our IPM work (Integrated Pest Management) in the outside gardens. These little Wilson Warblers were thrilled with the job at hand and were foraging aphids on the black cherry tomato plant. These sweet little yellowish-green birds were so intent on eating aphids that I was working around them as I was picking the tomatoes off the plant. They were so busy eating bugs that they didn’t give me a moment’s consideration of whether or not to worry about my being there.

One of the reasons we encourage wild birds to live and visit this farm is for this very reason. They are a lot of fun to watch, it’s true, but in addition to that they eat a boat-load of bugs. Because of this we rarely have to intervene and treat for insect pests ourselves. Rather we just let the birds and toads and beneficial insects do what comes naturally. They eat the pests and our plants and ourselves are quite happy with the result of that.

We received our shipment of clay pots yesterday, so one more thing gets ticked off the list of tasks and supplies to be done in preparation for the spring busy season. Lizz got all the iceplants and other succulent stock plants potted up, which was quite a big task done. We pruned away at shrubs that have been overgrown and ignored for as long as possible, so that was nice to have done too.

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I’ll leave you with this view of dry lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We ate our lunch there last Sunday afternoon after a brutally steep hike up the trail to the lake. It was worth the view though, and we had the place to ourselves (probably because the trail is so steep, no one else wanted to hike it Sunday:)). It was quiet, colorful, warm and beautiful.



Who are the people who you really respect for all sorts of reasons…all important?

01-jane-portrait-714  Jane Goodall

jimmy carter

Jimmy Carter

Of late I’ve been contemplating all the people I most admire. Two of these people, Gary Paul Nabhan and Juliette de Barclai Levy, are people I’ve known personally. The rest are incredible people who have walked or currently walk the earth, and because of them the earth is a better place.

juliette  Juliette de Barclai Levy

Gary-Nabhan-150x150   Gary Paul Nabhan

I know you will recognize most of these wonderful people, but there may be some who are not familiar to you. I pay homage to each and every one them and give them my deepest gratitude for what they have given to my life. Most of them will never know how I feel about them. Indeed several are no longer living, but they will always hold a special place of honor and respect from me.

tasha tutor  Tasha Tudor

I wonder who you would put on your list of heroes and heroines if you could choose 8 to 10 people who have contributed to the person you have become in this life, or who you so deeply respect for the work they do or the kind of person they are.

EleanorRoosevelt_640x400 Eleanor Roosevelt

bill moyers  Bill Moyers

I don’t think it matters if they share all your beliefs, your values, your faith or spirituality, your politics, your work or passions…but if they have somehow gifted you, and the way you live your life in some positive way…if they have gifted society or this planet in some wonderful or important way, then that is what counts. That is what should be honored I think.


Pope Francis


The Dali Lama

It’s worth thinking about. It is appropriate to honor them in some fashion, even if it is only to name them to yourself. Maybe you will decide to make a list of the people who are your heroes and heroines, publicly or privately,  as I have done here on this post. It matters little how you honor them. What matters is that you do!

Edward_Abbey  Edward Abby

With Green Thoughts, Tammi


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