Monday, April 25, 2011

breaking ground

freshly spaded and raked garden bed
So it finally was warm and dry enough to get out into the backyard garden and turn over the soil.  We spent an hour and a half- two hours tops, turning it over and raking out the lumps.  It was incredibly satisfying, and not difficult, given this is the sixth time we've broken this particular piece of ground, and that each year we've make the soil darker and softer by adding leaves, grass and the stems of last years garden plants.

Friday, April 22, 2011

beyond organic: permaculture and biodynamics

rudbeckia and echinacea in front of the old concrete block retaining wall
When I first heard about organic produce, it was the early 90's and I was a student at the University of Minnesota.  I had just moved into a student housing co-op and was still fairly new to the big city.

A friend took me to North Country Co-op,  a radical worker-run food co-op (that unfortunately went under a few years ago) and I was both fascinated and horrified by that beautiful and weird place.  Shopping at a place that didn't provide bags for your fruits in convenient little rolls, just above the refrigerator, a place that had big bins of grain, where you wrote down the price of your food on a little piece of reused paper, and were asked by the cashier if you were a member when you went to check out.  (Why would I be a member of a grocery store?)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

i think we've had enough snow now, thanks

 I'm hoping that the prediction of snow for tonight doesn't come through.  It was supposed to be six inches a few days ago.   The predicted amount is diminishing each day- so that one of the other dads at ECFE tonight said that it was only supposed to be one inch now.  That still feels like one inch too much for me.

I took these photos after Friday/Saturday's snowstorm and thought that that would be the end of it.  I hope that's the case.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

rain barrels are useless? no.

no-mow fescue in my front yard, no irrigation

There was a great article posted this week at Owen Dell's landscaping blog- great at least for spreading half-accurate information on irrigation and pissing a lot of rain barrel users off.  This was also commented on at the Garden Professors' blog, and just as controversial there.

I have never met Owen Dell.  Apparently he is a landscape architect too, but in Southern California.  In his article he posits that the needs of the average LA lawn come to 140,000 gallons a year, and that it would require 2,333 rain barrels to provide that amount of water.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

spring arrives

feeling spring
 Today was supposed to be rainy- yesterday was supposed to be sunny.  Who knew it would be the other way around.  Today, for the first time in a long time, the outdoors felt lush.

As it was, we had planned to take our out-of-town, out-of-country guest to the big mall in Bloomington today, so we went there, indoors, even though it was the first day of the year where it was comfortable, even preferable to be outside without a jacket. . 

But not before I spent a little time playing outside with the kids.  I was able to get a few snapshots of what is coming up in the yard now as well.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

the awesome power of water

Gita and I went for a drive today around town, taking her sister-in-law for the nickel tour of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  We got out of the car near St. Anthony Falls to see the falls at their flood-swollen best.

There is a new walkway/mini-park which makes it possible to get closer to the falls now than was possible in the past (at least legally) it's accessibly from the St. Anthony Main area, and blends in with the old electrical generation infrastructure.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

landscape architecture month

crocuses in our side yard with honeybees doing their thing

We have crocuses coming up all over now.  That's not too surprising- but seeing honeybees already when there's still snow in some corners of the yard- that's surprising to me.  I guess they got tired of staying inside this winter too.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

thoughts on cold storage

our first two quarts of maple syrup

Not having a refrigerator for a week has made me appreciate how effortless and relatively inexpensive it is to store things so long as electricity is available.

We have plenty of electricity right now, but our new energy-efficient refrigerator that we purchased at the Warners Stellian warehouse sale isn't working, and they're dragging their feet replacing it, so we have been 8 days without a working refrigerator or freezer.