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9/15/09  Starting up the fall/winter cold frames
I was going to wait to plant my cool-season crops, because we had (and still have) a horrible infestation of Harlequin beetles.  The baby beetles are eating everything.  But then we got a bunch of rain, and next thing i see, there are a whole bunch of cilantro & chard volunteers!  Everywhere!

And no beetles are bothering them.  So I planted some more stuff... we'll see if they work as well as the volunteers.  We are still enjoying tomatoes & squash from the summer garden, and the corn is just starting to be ready!

8/20/09  New Moon!
We opened our New Moon shop on Hwy 60 in Magdalena back in May... so far it is a great success!  My partners are Anna Lear (Laughing Raven) and Conne Gibson & Dean Crane (2 Cranes).  Check out more about the shop at Anna's blogspot: http://newmoongallery.blogspot.com/
If you are passing through Magdalena on a Thurs - Sun, drop in!  Usually you'll find one of us working on a project, and it is always nice to have visitors.  After my crazy show schedule calms down, I'm hoping to hold some tie-dye workshops.

3/6/09 Cold Frames
Here is my crop of baby arugula back in Feb:

and here is it again, a month later, after part of it died under mysterious circumstances when I was gone for a week (at a really bad show).

Now it is time to plant peas, favas, and more greens. 
Here is a shot of my indoor green onion experiment:

I also planted green onions in a cold frame, but these indoor onions are way ahead of the cold frame ones.

12/3/08 Time for Winter Gardening!
Earlier this week, I noticed little tatsoi and arugula sproutlings poking up in my cold frames.  This was such good news for me, because I planted my winter garden much later than usual this year (around 11/15), due to a great summer garden that lasted well into fall.  Here is a picture of the arugula:

And a picture of some Asian greens (Dragon’s Mix from Baker’s Heirloom Seeds) that I planted in October:

Finally, here is some chard that is still going strong from my summer garden:

I maintain that if I can grow these greens in the winter, with only 6 hours of sunlight in our canyon each day, ANYONE can grow them!  All you need is some protection from the wind and nighttime cold temps.  And you need to be able to remove the protection in the daytime, so that the plants don’t fry from high temps that will build in the sun.  I use wooden raised bed cold frames with domed plexiglass skylight lids (also called “lights”).  I also have one cold frame that uses thick, single-pane glass as the light.  I open the lids in the morning, and close them at night.  On overcast or snow days, I leave the lids closed.  If I have to be gone overnight, and won’t be home to open them when the sun comes up, I leave the lids propped just a little, because the heat will hurt the plants more than the cold will. 
What can you grow?  All of the cool season greens: lettuce, chard, spinach, kale, arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, mustard, cilantro, parsley, chervil, endive, radicchio, and also radishes, carrots, green onions.
Here are some pics of a couple of the 10 cold frames that we built a few years ago for Cottonwood Valley Charter School in Socorro, with a grant from PNM:

Looks good enough to eat, huh?!

Emboldened by the excitement of the AB twins (did I mention that they were made with all organic ingredients?), I decided to brew on my own at home -- an organic IPA kit from 7 Bridges out of Santa Cruz.  Their organic ingredients ROCK!  I added some extra hops to the recipe, and when i put the numbers through Beercalculus.com, I get 103 IBUs!  woo-hoo!  here it is in the primary, waiting for me to rack it off onto secondary:

Bread is coming along superbly, so now I've turned my attention back to home-brewing.  My friends & I brewed up a double-batch of Arrogant Bastard Clone... one batch we will oak.  Here is a shot of the wort boiling away on Mike's 210,000 BTU (!!!) burner:

My lastest bread experiment is an attempt to incorporate into this recipe a levain that I made from crushed grapes and flour (which is a method I learned about in a great cookbook called American Boulangerie by Pascal Rigo).  I followed the magazine recipe, but used a clump of my now-ready levain instead of yeast.  I will let my dough rise overnight, then follow the Mother Earth News recipe for baking it tomorrow.  And you thought you were going to read about tie-dyeing???  Ha ha ha.

Right now, besides trying to work on this website, my time is consumed by making the perfect loaf of bread.  This is a quest I've been on since I left San Francisco 10 years ago.  Baking bread at 7200 ft. in the high desert of New Mexico is a challenge unto itself, but trying to recreate the thick, crispy crust and moist, chewy interior of the breads of my San Francisco home was proving to be frustratingly impossible.  Until I tried a recipe in the Dec '07 issue of Mother Earth News!  Here is a picture of my first loaf using their recipe:

Beautiful, isn't it?  And it tasted as good as it looks!
Since that first loaf, I've made 3 more, and each one is as good as the last. 
Check out the recipe:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/article.aspx?id=118780

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