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You had one job!

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I have good news and bad news. The good news is that garlic and basil are cold hardy. The bad news is that zucchini and cilantro are not.

Last week, the glorious sun shown down and warmed our little valley to a comfortable 65 degrees. I thought that on such a fabulous day I’d leave my plants outside to soak in the natural light and harden up against the wind. Then I went to work.

I’ve lived here for 5 years. I should have known better.

By the end of the day, a storm had blown in with a chilly rain, and the temperature dropped to around 29 degrees.
Zucchini and cilantro are dead.

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Zucchini is the one thing I’ve been trying to grow the past two years.

I had one job!

The good news is that planting season is coming up in the next two weeks, so I’m not out of the game yet. I also have amazing friends who have already donated to my garden venture. They include a heating mat, pots, soil, seeds, and a garden plot. I just need winter and spring to get along and work it out.

– Erica

 

 

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Natural Rhetoric

Natural Rhetoric
What does that actually mean?
No, I’m seriously asking what does that mean?

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I see the label “natural” slapped on everything, so I started asking around. I live outside a town of around 12 hundred people (just within the city limits), and a large surrounding agricultural area. These are the people who I would claim are experts on what qualifies as “natural.”
The responses were “things grown naturally.” Yes, ok, but isn’t all organic matter grown naturally? And that brings us to the argument of organic vs. synthetic, which is in reference to chemicals to help with growing. Which is a totally different argument than GMO and non-GMO. And we are only focused on foods right now. I’ve seen soaps and cleaners that are labeled “natural”. And that is just a whirlwind of a headache waiting to happen. And do we want to go there? What is in soap that has been grown? I mean actually cleaning-really works-removes all traces of dirt-soap! I guess that lye does come from the ground. Are you following my point here? Why can’t we agree on the same definition on what the word “natural” on our labels mean?

I feel like I’m in an Emperor’s New Clothes situation here, and I’m going to get sacrificed by those who are radical “naturalists.” I’m still working out how you get a unnatural chicken, I haven’t found any growth hormones for them yet… unless they are trying to pass off rat meat as chicken? How would I know if they apparently taste the same?
I’m trying to do my due diligence. I’ve learned about GMOs and even helped with my husband’s study of them. I’ve learned how foods gets the “organic” label. It all seems like the hard way of doing things. 

Also, people who do things “naturally” usually have a soap box to stand on. There are some mothers who are martyrs because they want to protect their families from the raging chemicals in their homes. Unfortunately for such a mother, she was not alive before boiled water and now has to save her kids from modern ingredients that could cause skin irritations, lung damage, blindness, poisoning, and death if ingested. In all the billions of houses with chemicals in them, kids die of these causes. That kind of rational thinking turns me off.

After a lot of studying about it, though, I’ve decided to do some things naturally. Why? Because it’s cheaper. Think about it. I’m already half way there. I’m growing my own garden so I can have homemade salsa, I get my beef and eggs from the family’s ranch, I can and preserve peaches/pickles/tomatoes sauce, and I make the occasional jam. I have a kid who has extremely sensitive skin and needs special soaps and lotions. With one income, I’m always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill with homemade/ natural things. And some how owning goats makes my stance more convincing. Talking about stances, I’m not sure I’m following this anymore, but the point I’m trying to make is this: “natural” can be cheaper! But I’m cherry picking what I can do “naturally”.  There will always be 409 in my cleaning arsenal, my kids will be given Tylenol to lower their fevers and reduce pain, my deodorant will be Sauve and toothpaste Crest. Somethings in my life will always be considered  “unnatural,” like how I give birth. And I am ok with that. But if I can do it in bulk and do it cheaper and it’s just as effective as store bought, then I will try it and say it’s natural. 

To bring all this around to gardening, I’m doing it because I can. It’s not for any other reason other than “why not.” I had a discussion with someone recently whose point of view for not canning and going with store bought was it was cheaper and faster.  I 100% agreed. The discussion was based solely on which was cheaper. I argued that the initial investment could be pricey, but then I had the satisfaction of enjoying my hard work all year long. 
I didn’t notice the labels on my food until a college roommate had to make an extra trip to buy organic chocolate chips in bulk. Then, in my married life, I’ve lived in a world of agriculture, and I have gotten to see and live with the food markets. Which is different then how I grew up. For example, I didn’t know what FFA was until I was 19, and then I though it was kids learning the different types of meat cuts. So my question is … What are your thoughts on the rhetoric of food labels?

~Lexi

Global Worming

I can’t think of a way to make a post about worms interesting. This is post #2 about worms though, so I think that’s something.

My worms arrived on Wednesday! I was so excited and took a few pictures. Gorgeous, yes?

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Heres the company I bought them from.

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Warning. When I came home today my apartment smelt like a trash bin.  I had moistened the soil so the worms could rehydrate, and perhaps added too much water because all the smells of the decaying food were pretty pungent. I covered the worm/food heap with dry dirt to cover the smell in hopes that balances things out. I also swept, mopped, did the dishes, took out the trash, and threw in a load of laundry juuuust in case the smell was coming from somewhere else. I’m pretty sure it was the soggy compost bin, though. So a note, if you’re going to compost, make sure you live with people who are cool with the possibility that it could potentially smell from time to time.

-Erica

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They’re Here!

My worms came in the mail last night! Ah! When I have a few minutes I’ll write a real blog and post some pictures. Oh the suspense!

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-Erica

Herbal-Dose

Ok, ok, ok. I really don’t have a green thumb at all! I’ve killed the basil and the cilantro and I think it’s because I’ve over watered them! Ugh!
According to this webpage:

https://bonnieplants.com/library/how-to-grow-herbs-indoors/

basil can be tricky and prefers temperatures around 70 degrees and likes lots of sunlight. I dont think my herbs are getting enough natural lighting and I’m keeping them around 65 degrees.
I’m going to up the temp to 70 and I don’t know quite what to do about the sunlight. I also read that indoor herbs tend to be spindlier than outdoor herbs, which I’m finding is true, and that dry air from heating mechanisms is hard on herbs, which I’m finding is also true since I keep them by a space heater.

This is almost hilarious how I don’t know what to do…so, um, I did this..???…Any tips?

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-Erica

I Got Worms

You know your life has taken a turn for the best when you are excited for the shipment of worms you’ll be getting in a few days time. Step aside friendships and fun! I have worms!
You know what else is a clear turn for the best? Having nothing to talk about on a date other than your worm hobby.
“Yea, I have worms. At least a hundred.”
This is a sure way to be safely home and tucked in under your blankets by 10pm that night.
Step aside social life! The worms have made it!
…just counting down the days until they arrive…

-Erica

All things merge into one..

A few years ago, I called my friend Josh after reading “A River Runs Through It.” He happened to have a passion for fly fishing and I was feeling motivated. We drove to Strawberry Reservoir, and the same evening some friends were having a bonfire. We told them we’d meet up with them with fish to roast over the fire.
We drove up to Strawberry and spent the whole afternoon on the river. We moved up the river and down the river and caught nothing. We tried different flies and casts and watched the sun sink over the mountains, but caught nothing.
A bit downhearted, I exclaimed that our friends would be disappointed.
“We’ll just stop at the grocery store and buy one,” Josh said.

“You can do that?”

“Sure. I’ll tell them how, with destiny in your eyes, you cast the most graceful cast, and as the fly landed, a fish came up to meet it and you reeled it in!”
So that’s the story of how we bought a fish from the grocery store, but told our friends I caught it, then ate it around a bonfire.
How this story relates to gardening:

This summer I’ll be baking lots of zucchini bread, frying up lots of veggies, etc. If my gardening skills are like last year, you may just wonder if it all came from the store. But I’ll never tell.
The end.

-Erica

Lettuce See

I’ve been looking at a planting calendar lately because I’ve been excited to get my garden started. February is coming to an end, Spring is nearly here, and the random snow storms have not dampened my excitement for the warm weather. 

But as I’ve looked at the planting calendar I’ve noticed that the only things to start in March are “greens”. Things like lettuce, kale, and sprouts. And don’t need negativity in my garden, so I guess I’m waiting another month to start planting. On the plus side, it’s another month to build a green house. 

A few years ago we threw some seeds out in our garden plot. We hooked up the garden to our automatic sprinklers and wanted to see what would grow. Unfortunately, we did plant different varieties of lettuce. Growing them was easy. You cut what you wanted and the plant grew back. You would think it was pretty awesome-Salad all summer long. Wrong! The lettuce was gritty with dirt or bugs. We tried insecticide but that was a labor intensive activity, so not worth the effort. The bugs would climb way down into the plant. The bugs were the grossest but not the worst problem. It was the dirt, and we just couldn’t get each individual leaf clean. You are already weary of each bite, and in the back of your mind you’re sure there is a bug in each bite. But then your teeth grinds against dirt. Sending shivers down your back. So I will not be adding lettuce/kale/sprouts to my garden this year, I can’t look at the clean packaged lettuce at the store with out being filled with nausea.

~Lexi

Tropic Like it’s Hot

During my weekly shopping trip, I found myself staring off into space in the produce section. The pineapples had caught my eyes. I stopped and was trying to figure out if I had seen on Pinterest that you can regrow pineapple. After being jostled by a few people trying to get their bell peppers, I figured I would buy one and then figure it out.
All of them were pretty green still, so I picked the one with the least amount of green and added it to my cart.
Now I will admit it’s been sitting on my counter for a few days and the leaves don’t looks so fresh any more, but Pinterest did confirm that it can be done, so tried to emulate the picture I saw, with tooth picks and a mason jar. Mine is actually an old pickle jar, but the thought is the same.
So while the weather is too cold to start planing outside maybe I can get the roots started in this pineapple.

~Lexi

Tropic Like It's Hot

Update on Pineapple: Attempt #1 didn’t work. It died. 

There are a few reasons why I think it died. 1) The pineapple fruit was too green. 2) The pineapple fruit was green, but it was too ripe. 3) I had it on my kitchen counter where it didn’t get long exposure to the sun. So the next attempt I need to find a place with better light. If only there was a building for growing plants that is made of all windows so it could get all that exposure to the sun….

 

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