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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.

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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!

It’s a beautiful autumn day today. The temps are in the 70’s with a slight breeze and it feels delicious to be outdoors! We have been working around the farm today doing the daily chores of seed picking, greenhouse and garden watering, feeding the birds, taking the wash down from the clothesline – you know how it goes on a lazy Saturday. There are things that must be done, but the pace in which you do those things is your own for a change. Life is pretty good.

In my last post I said this week would be my two for one blog posting week, and so it shall be, but since I wrote that last post I’ve realized that I have a lot of thoughts to share. Some are important and some probably not so much, except maybe to me, but I’m in the mood to share my thoughts, so pour yourself a cup of tea and let’s have a blog visit.

I want to tell you a bit more about the Aunt Molly Ground Cherries, which are keeping my attention a lot these days. This is my plant (this is 1 plant) in a large clay pot. Last year I planted this variety in my food garden in the soil and it thrived, but it was hard to harvest because when ground cherries are perfectly ripe they fall off the plant. In other words you don’t pick them off the plant’s stems like other fruit, instead you pick the fruits off the ground when they become ripe enough to fall off the plant. So, in the garden they fell onto the soil beneath my very large prolific plant and I was left to rummage around beneath the foliage to find the ground cherries. It took a fair bit of time to harvest the fruits in this way and I can’t say it was a lot of fun. This spring I decided to grow my plant in a large pot and my intention was to take it out to the back yard and set the pot on the sidewalk beneath my clothesline, but I never got the pot moved outdoors. Instead it stayed on a bench in the Plant Barn greenhouse, where it also has thrived, but our greenhouse benches are made with pallets, so there are slots in the benches. When the ground cherries were ripe they fell off the plant, as usual, and landed underneath the bench. Again, not a lot of fun to harvest since I had to reach and crawl under the bench to pick them up off the fabric weed barrier floor. Ok, plan 3…I turned upside down another large pot and used it as a pedestal for the Aunt Molly ground cherry plant’s pot and bingo! This was the perfect plan. As you can see in my photo when the ground cherries ripen and fall they land on the ground under the plant, but since the plant’s pot is raised up off the ground on the upturned pot by about 1.5 feet or so, I can easily scoop up the ripe ground cherries, put them in a bowl and they are ready to start eating.

This idea came from an article in a magazine called Growing for Market. The article was about a market farmer who grew ground cherries for their local farmers market, but they also didn’t enjoy the harvesting process and it took too much time when they were hurrying to get ready to go to the market with their produce. They came up with a plan to plant the ground cherry plants on a hilled row that was covered with weed barrier. When the ground cherries would get ripe they would fall off the plant onto the hilled row of weed barrier fabric and then roll down the little slop into the aisle between the planted rows. It was easy for the farmer’s family to come along the aisle and just scoop up the fruits from on top of the weed barrier and off they would go to the weekly farmers market, where people quickly bought up all the ground cherries because they are so tasty to eat. And have I mentioned that kids love to eat these! They are like candy drops to kids and a whole lot better than real candy drops would be.

Next spring when you are ready to plant your Aunt Molly’s ground cherries, this will give you an optional way to grow them rather than growing them in a traditional garden row.

We produce a bit of organic waste in our greenhouses in the course of growing so many varieties of potted plants. Years ago we gave up composting this old potting soil and plant trimmings because we weren’t very good at keeping the compost piles turned and actively working. In part that is because it was always a pretty large pile and we don’t own a tractor with a way to assist in turning the piles. We would have to do it the old-fashioned way with pitch forks and shovels and hence it often just got put off or didn’t happen in a timely way. We needed a better plan. We bought a handmade trailer, which I call the chicken trailer and Chris sometimes calls the wiggle wagon because it is such a goofy trailer and it used to wiggle a lot when we pulled it behind the truck. It doesn’t wiggle anymore thanks to Jake and Lizz welding a re-enforcement brace to the trailer’s hitching tongue. So, I digress…

Below is the chicken trailer getting ready to be dumped at any number of friends gardens, often where chickens live. This is a great solution for us, because we don’t have to turn a massive compost pile regularly. I do have a tumbling compost barrel in my personal food garden for kitchen and garden trimmings and that compost gets used in my food garden whenever it is ready. The chicken trailer goes to a friend’s garden and if there are chickens at that garden, the chickens pillage through the trailer’s organic waste and as they do they add their own manure to the mix. Then our friends recycle the  soil into their own gardens as nutrient-rich organic matter. It’s a win win for all of us. Thanks to all the chicken trailer recipients: Carol, Wendy and Russ, James, Dwayne, Biggi, Christopher and Beki.

And whenever the chicken trailer is making a voyage to a garden, this is the back seat driver. ⇓

Many of us keep bird baths to provide our wild bird friends with a fresh drink or a place to take a refreshing bath, but other creatures use those birdbaths too. Below some honey bees were getting a drink. The deer, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, butterflies and other pollinators and of course Shrek all drink from our birdbaths here.

I have some exciting news to share. My newest book, Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine, has just won the 2017 Thomas DeBaggio Book Award! I’m so honored and thrilled about this! It is such an amazing honor to receive this award and my heart and spirit are filled with deep gratitude. Writing Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine was all about sharing insights and stories of the great many ways plants and people have been in relationship, and how dependent our lives are on the benefits we gain from plants. The plants I wrote about in this book are old frirends of mine and have been a part of my daily life since I was a little girl. My hope is that others will enjoy reading about these plants and learning their stories, and perhaps these readers will even be a little bit surprised at just how many ways plants fill all of our lives.

I’m waiting now to receive the gold seals for this award that I can place on the book covers when I sell copies of my book. My publisher, Storey Publishing, will also be placing seals on the books as they fill orders for my book. Once the seals arrive to me, I’ll take a photo and post it on this blog so that I can share this really wonderful event in my life.

On this past Wednesday, we had another greenhouse skin replacement event. It was time to recover the basil house, so we rounded up a total of 7 people to help and off we went to accomplish this daunting task. This greenhouse is 30 foot wide and 100 feet long, so it’s not a small building and when you’re talking about huge sheets (2 of them to be exact) of plastic that can be carried off on the slightest breeze, well…it’s kind of a big deal.

Above we are removing the old top layer and then the bottom layer of plastic.

Then it’s on with the first layer. Dave and several of us are holding it in place while Lizz and Chris (below) tie tennis balls and ropes to the second layer so that it can be pulled over top of the bottom layer.

 

After both layers are pulled onto the building and everything is adjusted to be in the proper position, then we all are stationed around the building holding the plastic securely in place while Chris begins to attach the plastic to the building via wiggle wires and tracks.

This is Beki’s approach to holding onto her corner of the plastic. She was pretty safe doing this because by this time both end walls had been secured into the tracks with wiggle wire, and she was just holding the bottom of the plastic in place until Chris got to her spot with more wiggle wires to secure the bottom wall edge.

The Basil House looks great now and this greenhouse is all inflated and doing a grand job of housing our plants. We have three other greenhouses to replace the plastic on this fall, but the basil house was the most difficult and biggest greenhouse to do, so it’s done now and we are breathing a little easier.

I’ve talked about this before, but I like to mention it every now and then. It’s one of those things I enjoy, but also feel is a very tiny thing many of us can do to help use a bit less energy and simplify our lives a tiny step. How many of you hang your wash out on a clothes line to dry after you launder it? In my mind there are few things nicer then the smell of clean clothes and linens that have hung in the fresh air to dry. They feel crisp on your skin, they smell great and guess what…if you dry your clothes on a clothesline for a year’s time you will have saved around $150.00 in energy costs you would have spent to dry those same loads of laundry in a dryer appliance.

When I save that money using my clothes line, I can use it instead to pay for my entire year’s subscription to the newspaper or it will pay for a 1/4 of the year’s cell phone bills, or we could just use it to have a special wedding anniversary event. I’m sure a great many of you are saying, well, that isn’t a lot of money to save, but imagine if thousands or millions of us adopted the clothes line to dry our wash! Then your $150.00 is multiplied into a great deal of money, but more important a great deal of energy savings!! Sun and breeze energy to dry the wash is free of charge and leaves behind nothing harmful to contribute to climate change. Indeed it helps towards the solutions to climate change. It’s a collective effort and believe me it adds up.

Now I realize that not everyone is into hanging their laundry out to dry. There are people who cannot accomplish this task even if they did choose to do so. I think here is a place for the dryer appliance in our world…indeed Chris and I have a dryer, all be it a very old one, and we occasionally use it when we are in a big time crunch and need dry clothes very fast,  but for most of us a clothes line approach is a realistic option for most of the time, and maybe it’s worth some serious consideration.

I’ll put my soap box away now.

I’ve also been thinking about what it is to live in an old farm-house. We live in one and it has a lot of “character” believe me. Our house was not the priority when we bought this land to have our farm. We needed a place that had really good soil, good irrigation water, and that we could afford. We needed a house that was livable, but beyond that we weren’t too fussy. We ended up with a good piece of land with good soil and water, in a great location to grow plants, in a wonderful community to live in. Our old farm-house was very livable, but let me tell you it has had a hugely long list of challenges.

We’ve lived here almost 22 years and over those years we’ve slowly fixed all the dangerous things about our house. The electrical and plumbing works had to be totally redone. The wood stove, we learned after the fact, had an open flue in the attic and we are thankful we didn’t burn ourselves to the ground in that first winter we lived here. The wood stove and chimney have all been replaced. These are just a few of the major things that needed fixing in the early years. Three years ago we repaired the outside of our house, which was the biggest project we’ve had to do so far, and it included putting up insulation, replacing all the windows and stuccoing the outside. Below is our house before that work and then afterwards. We are now in love with our little southwestern looking casita. Best yet, it is now in good repair besides looking good on the outside.

We’ve about fixed all the necessary fixes, and someday we hope to do more of the inside cosmetic fixes, but this is an old farm-house and despite the worn out linoleum and goofy kitchen cabinets, it is our homeplace and we really like it here. Our house is comfortable and it suits us and our dog and cats. When company comes they tell us they feel comfortable here, so that makes us smile. Our house has too much dust on things in the busy season and there is rarely a day that there isn’t dirt getting tracked inside as we go about our day of farm chores. That’s what brooms are for right?! Our house isn’t fancy and it sure won’t win any awards, but it is “home”.

Just think about your home for a minute. Maybe you also live in an old farm-house or some kind of fixer upper. Maybe you have a home where everything is tidy and beautiful. It really doesn’t make that much difference what kind of house you live in if it feels like a “home” and is comfortable and a place that makes you happy and feels like a sacred space for you and your family and for friends to visit.

Right now there are so many people without a home. Some of them have lost their home to wildfire or hurricane or tornado events. Some have lost their homes due to a financial or life-changing event. Some have no home through their own doing, but most who are without a home have that loss due to some kind of event that they couldn’t help. I’ve been thinking about all this a lot with so much going on in our world these days. It makes me appreciate our old farm-house that I live in all the more!

Finally, our friend Panayoti Kelaides also has a blog that is fantastic, so I wanted to tell you about it and hope you will explore it soon. It’s called PrairieBreak. Here is the link Prairiebreak

My Photo

Panayoti is an amazing gardener and world plant explorer. He’s the Senior Curator and the Director of Outreach for Denver Botanic Gardens too. We’ve known him for more than 34 years and we love him dearly. If you want to get a serious garden fix, then visit his blog often. You’ll see gardens locally and from different places around the world. Right now he is in Sweden and his newest post is about his trip there. Check it out!

As I close this very long post, I’m sure your cup of tea is long gone by now, so this is the last thing to tell you about. The Autumn is when the tarantulas migrate here in southern Colorado. They are harmless even though they look intimidating and scary. Don’t be fooled! They are just out walking around in their world looking for a mate, so please…if you see one crossing the road as your driving along, please do not run over it. They won’t cause you any harm.

Anyway, remember Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web – right! Well, when you see a spider, that is good luck, so surely a spider as big as a tarantula means mega good luck, aye.

Until next time. With Green Thoughts, Tammi

 

 

 

 

We’ve been picking a lot of fresh produce from the garden and of course there is always a long list of farm tasks to work on. But the autumn season has begun and this is our favorite time of the year…it is a time to hike, cook from the garden, play music…slow down just a wee little bit over the normal pace of each day. Don’t get me wrong, because every day my list of things to accomplish always seems to be longer than I can manage to get done, but there is no frantic pace in the Autumn season. We are in deep gratitude for that.

With that in mind, I’m writing a short post tonight. There will be another one at the end of the week, so I guess this is my two for one week. Short and sweet, but still a bit of news I think.

Above are some roasted Jimmy Nardello Sweet Fry Peppers. They are delicious no matter how you eat them, but I really like them roasted. I had so many tomatoes this week that I cooked a very large pot of spaghetti sauce and some of these roasted peppers went in the pot, along with a generous spoonful of rosemary. All day long it cooked. All night long it cooked. The next morning I poured it into freezer containers and now I’ll have it for cold winter days to remind me of this year’s garden harvest.

In this picture there is a large bowl of Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries and a small bowl of Tom Thumb Popcorn. I planted one plant of ground cherries and I can hardly keep up eating them. I’ve been sharing them with friends and took a big sack-full to Nebraska with us when we went to visit our family there. They look like tomatillos, but make no mistake…these are sweet, with a hint of cherry flavor, and they are delicious to just eat as a snack. You peel off the outer husk like tomatillos, but that is where the similarities end. Inside the husk is a small cherry-size golden fruit. If you haven’t grown ground cherries yet, please consider it for your garden next year. They also grow nicely in a big container and I think they are very easy to harvest when grown in a container. I’ll be talking more about Aunt Molly’s heirloom ground cherries in my next post.

Chris and I have been hiking in the mountains near our farm nearly every week. Three weeks ago we went up the Horn Lakes trail and that is where these photos were taken. We hiked to the alpine lakes and then ate lunch. There were hawks soaring on the air currents near the lake, so we thoroughly enjoyed watching them.

Of course, Shrek always hikes with us. This week we had a short hike, as Shrek was feeling a little under the weather. Nothing serious for the Shrek fan club, but his stomach wasn’t really up for a winding car ride to get to a trail in the Sangres. We walked at The Banks instead, which makes for quite a pleasant evening walk.

Yikes! I still have plants to get planted in my gardens! I hope I get this accomplished. There is still plenty of planting time before the weather gets too cold and unpredictable, so I’m not too worried yet. There has just been too much happening to get these green friends planted into a permanent home in my gardens.

 

As a final thought, I’m going to leave my sister’s hotel information on the bottom of my posts for a while. If you are interested in exploring a perfect business/lifestyle situation, have a read below. Maybe Wayne and Karri’s Inn will fit the bill for you. It’s for sale in Sidney, Nebraska just slightly north of the Colorado State line. Here’s some information below:

My sister and brother-in-law, Karri and Wayne Waller, have a mom and pop Inn/Motel business in Sidney, Nebraska. They’ve been running this motel, with their home there too, as a eco-friendly Inn for the past 17 years and it is an incredible place. There are all the Inn rooms, of course, which are lovely, plus their home attached to the Inn rooms. They have a greenhouse, extensive gardens and a garden gazebo, a place to keep chickens or other domestic birds. They recently had 7 beehives on the property, but they have now gifted those beehives to another family.

So, why am I sharing all of this with you? Because Karri and Wayne have decided to relocate back to southern Colorado to be nearer to our parents as they are in their golden years. This dream Inn business is for sale and we are trying to share the news with any that might have an interest in exploring this as a possible future. This is truly a turn-key business and a wonderful place to raise a family or retire or just for those who might wish to live in a smaller community versus a large city.

The motel sits a mile or so off Interstate 80, which means it gets a lot of tourist traffic. There is a huge wind farm not too far away, and the Inn has been a home away from home for wind farm workers, plus traveling farm crews that combine crops on many of the large farms nearby. Check it out. Maybe this is the dream business you are in the market for!

Here is the listing with Zillow which contains many pictures and some details.  https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/2093326809_zpid/41.

204231,-102.864733,41.095523,-103.028842_rect/12_zm/1_fr/?view=public

This is the front of the greenhouse and below is a side view with raised bed gardens surrounding it.

It’s been another super busy week, with a lot of things happening, so I have several things to tell you about in this post.

My sister and brother-in-law, Karri and Wayne Waller, have a mom and pop Inn/Motel business in Sidney, Nebraska. They’ve been running this motel, with their home there too, as a eco-friendly Inn for the past 17 years and it is an incredible place. There are all the Inn rooms, of course, which are lovely, plus their home attached to the Inn rooms. They have a greenhouse, extensive gardens and a garden gazebo, a place to keep chickens or other domestic birds. They recently had 7 beehives on the property, but they have now gifted those beehives to another family.

So, why am I sharing all of this with you? Because Karri and Wayne have decided to relocate back to southern Colorado to be nearer to our parents as they are in their golden years. This dream Inn business is for sale and we are trying to share the news with any that might have an interest in exploring this as a possible future. This is truly a turn-key business and a wonderful place to raise a family or retire or just for those who might wish to live in a smaller community versus a large city.

The motel sits a mile or so off Interstate 80, which means it gets a lot of tourist traffic. There is a huge wind farm not too far away, and the Inn has been a home away from home for wind farm workers, plus traveling farm crews that combine crops on many of the large farms nearby. Check it out. Maybe this is the dream business you are in the market for!

Here is the listing with Zillow which contains many pictures and some details.  https://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/2093326809_zpid/41.

204231,-102.864733,41.095523,-103.028842_rect/12_zm/1_fr/?view=public

This is the front of the greenhouse and below is a side view with raised bed gardens surrounding it.

Other happenings are that our friend Steve has been visiting and has been involved in the seed harvest. Here he’s cleaning seeds.

Speaking of seeds, we’ve harvested Prickly Poppy so that we can plant a crop of this plant into our seed production field. One of our crew, Beki, has a family homestead nearby and she invited us to come and harvest poppy seed from the land there. It was a fun field trip for all of us and the land is beautiful and the old family buildings that are there. They still use this land for ranching.

         

Another incredible part of the land are the old Native American rock paintings that exist there. On another area are the signatures of old cowboys that used to run a stagecoach route nearby. The date on one of these signatures was 1902. We had so much fun and we are so honored to have been invited to come to this amazing homestead.

     

The food garden is really going in high gear. This is one harvest this week! Pears, garlic, ground cherries, popcorn, raspberries, peppers, tomatoes…oh my! Summer is the time of abundance and we are in deep gratitude for all the fresh food this farm is giving us to enjoy.

Then there was the day of serious, serious weed management! Last Saturday my parents and Chris and I went to their home that is for sale here in Canon City on Rockafellow and cleared the front and back yards of the weeds, plus there is a huge garden space at the back of the property that has raised beds. It’s been about 3 weeks since I weeded this place and with all the extra rain we have gotten, the weeds didn’t waste any time growing back and tall. So, we whipped that place into shape and it looks great! It required a lawn mower, a wheel hoe, lots of hand pulling and probably a gallon of ice tea!

     

All our pears are nearly harvested now, but some of the ones that are high up in the tree beyond reach have been falling each day . It’s been perfect for the does and their fawns to have pears to eat off the ground every morning. Not too many, but just enough to please these four-legged creatures. It’s nice to be able to share the pears we can’t put to use because they are too high up. Co-existing with the wildlife is important and we put a high priority on it, so this is a perfect way for those fallen pears to get used up.

All for now. Enjoy your long weekend. I’ll be back again next week with more news.

Last weekend I made a quick trip to Washington DC to give a lecture at the U.S. Botanic Garden. My talk was about how people and plants have been in relationships throughout humanity’s past, in today’s world, and going forward into the future. This is the subject of my newest book, Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine, and it is a passion of my work with plants.

Below is a picture of the outside of the Botanic Garden conservatory. The building is very old and the glass house conservatory wraps you in a time from the past even as it serves as a home today for thousands of plants. It’s really a beautiful building and the entire Botanic Garden is gorgeous!

One section of the conservatory is dedicated to medicinal plants. There were so many different medicine plants in that small space. I saw Kava Kava, Thyme, Saw Palmetto, Valerian, Pennyroyal and so many other plant friends. Below is a bed of Gotu Kola – a fantastic skin herb and a herb that is used to improve memory and concentration.

In the entrance part of the conservatory there were a lot of different tropical food plants, including this banana. Even though we call this plant a banana tree, it isn’t actually a tree at all. It is quite tall though.

One of my favorite plants is the cacao (chocolate) tree and there were chocolate trees in this conservatory. These are the pods of chocolate beans that grow out of the tree’s trunk.

In the entrance area of the conservatory there were the most beautiful murals painted. The one below is of a farmer processing cacao pods that will later be made into delicious chocolate sweet treats. There were other murals too including one of a cotton harvest, an orange grove, a tractor in a farmer’s field and several others. These paintings were so beautiful!

After I finished giving my lecture and doing a bit of exploration in the Botanic Garden, I walked to a local bookshop called East City Bookshop. They were kind enough to stock copies of my book, Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine in their shop so that people will have a local store to buy a copy. I went there to sign those copies and to give them my thanks for having my book available.

On the walk back towards my hotel, I saw the Thomas Jefferson Building and of course there was a food garden planted at the entrance steps! If you know anything about Thomas Jefferson, then you know that he was passionate about growing gardens in general, but especially food gardens, so it is absolutely appropriate that there would be a vegetable garden displayed in front of this important building. The garden represented the War Gardens that people were encouraged to plant during World War II when food supplies were rationed. We would all be wise to have a food garden of any size at our homes these days too. Freshly picked fruits and vegetables taste so delicious and a food garden of your own gives you a bit of food security and control over your own pantry. If you cannot grow your own food garden, then please try to support and shop at your local farmers market. It’s the next best thing.

One of the monuments that was most moving to me and so beautiful and made such a powerful statement was the Peace Monument that sits at the sidewalk curb leading up to the steps of the United States Capitol. It’s reassuring to me in these crazy days of government that there is a Peace Monument so close to those who govern us as a country. It also makes me wonder if those who govern us – Republicans, Democrates, Independents – do you suppose they even notice or know that this very significant monument is right there as our champion to inspire them to make good decisions and hold them accountable for the decisions that they make that affect all of us so deeply. I rather suspect that they are mostly oblivious and too caught up in their own agendas to worry very much about what is important to each and every one of us. It’s frightening to me what is going on in our government these days. I try to keep politics mostly out of this blog, but I must tell you that seeing this Peace Monument really touched me at my core. I wish that our government officials could look at it and feel like that too.

On another note, we have our friend Steve from New Zealand visiting and it was an opportunity for us to gather with other friends to share a meal and enjoy each other’s company. Here is Chris, Marc and Steve just after we returned from an evening stroll in the pinon-juniper forest where Marc and Joan live.

And below I’ll leave you with this gorgeous meadow filled with Indian Paintbrush, Penstemons, Artemisia and so many other wildflowers. It is breathtaking!

So, I’ll also leave you with this thought…maybe if each of us focus’ on doing things that help us create a peaceful personal and community environment, perhaps we can influence the greater whole, and that includes our foolish current government.  If we enjoy the company of good friends, family and neighbors, and honor them, along with all of nature around us. Oh… and if we could each plant some kind of food garden (even a single pot of lettuce  or a basil plant counts) however small or large. If we try to make sure all our actions and thoughts are first and foremost kind and truthful, and if we hold respect for all living things – then my belief is that things will turn out positive and good. I will be holding onto that feeling I had when I was standing in front of the Peace Monument.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi