Why Would Andy…

take this picture and send it to someone? (Click on picture for higher resolution.)

What is it a picture of, and why would someone want to see it? Can you guess?

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 4 Comments

Growing Things

This comic reminds me of the lush garden we had up on the land for a couple of years.

Then the animals discovered it and we had to replace it with our first greenhouse.

I wrote about our experience in Our Garden in the Woods, a 2008 post:

garden in the woods

I recently read Peter Mayle’s Encore Provence, and I loved his reason for not having a garden:

It would be fighting nature, and nature always wins. It has more stamina and it never stops for lunch.

Peter Mayle is a wise man. His quote reminds me of a friend of mine who said one spring:

I love this time of year! The new plants are spouting and growing…before they get eaten by the deer and beaten down by the hail.

And that was down here in town, where the elevation is only 7200 feet.

So I suppose some people would call our garden in the woods, at an elevation of 8800 feet, an exercise in foolishness. The picture above shows me walking down the path to the garden. The figure slightly to the left of center is Kaitlin looking at the garden.

rototilling the soil
lush garden

In fact, it was a fun adventure and we were successful for a while. We carefully hauled down sacks and sacks of sterilized manure each year and rototilled them into the soil. And we did produce some lush cold-weather crops…crops that needed more warmth didn’t do as well. We harvested most of our tomatoes after the first snow flurries, while they were still green.

Unfortunately just growing crops isn’t enough.

Animals Don’t Understand Sharing

There are a lot more animals than humans up there. Now we didn’t mind sharing. We thought it was cute when we saw a pile of pea pods, neatly stripped of the peas, under the leafy protection of Kaitlin’s pumpkin plant. We didn’t even mind the ground squirrel chattering at us when we stayed in “his” garden too long. But he eventually ignored us and came in to harvest even though we were there. (We tried two different fences, but they couldn’t keep him out.) It did bother us when we were admiring our handiwork and saw a wheat stalk topple over in front of our eyes, And the last straw was when we watched a bean plant disappear into the soil, to be replaced by a gopher hole.

Andy’s solution was to set traps and kill the animals, but I didn’t care about the produce as much as watching the plants grow. And killing animals does not make my little corner of the world a friendlier place.

The Greenhouse

inside greenhouse
greenhouse partially underground
inside greenhouse

Andy had always dreamed of having a greenhouse, so we decided to spend the money and have one built. The garden was about 30 feet by 50 feet, and the greenhouse is 25 feet by 75 feet… big enough to do some good.

The walls are cinderblock and the roof glass. The left wall in the picture of the inside is about 7 feet high, the one on the right 9 feet high.

The second snapshot shows how the higher wall is nestled into the slope of the land to conserve heat.

We asked the contractor to save all the precious soil we had laboriously built up, but he forgot. It ended up buried under the concrete porch. So we built up more soil by growing “green manure”, crops that nurture the soil when rototilled in. It didn’t take long before we were producing good crops again.

We had several years of bountiful harvests before the drought hit and our well couldn’t produce enough water for the plants. My husband has great hopes that the drought will eventually end, but I’m relaxed either way. I’m glad we did it, but I’m happy to move on.

A Waste of Time?
Was our garden in the woods a waste of time and money? Were we foolish to do it? Not in my book. For me growing a garden is like raising a child, I do it for the joy of being involved and watching things grow. I do it for the process, not for the end result. When we bought the land we knew it could be devastated by forest fires at any time. The fact is, we’re been lucky to have had that many good years up there. We managed to have some good harvests, but even more important we had a great shared adventure and have years of precious memories.

What About You?
Have you ever done something that other people might have thought foolish or that didn’t turn out the way you had hoped? How do you feel about it? Are you more focused on productivity and achievement than in enjoying the adventure of life? Do you think the two approaches are incompatible?

We didn’t have a chance to use the greenhouse again before the 2011 fire destroyed it… along with our trees, house, shed, and well house. Our new greenhouse was the last to be built, in 2019. We’re not planting nearly as much now, but we’re still enjoying it.

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 11 Comments

How True!

Monday’s post about taking pictures of food reminds me of this 2021 post:

Another thing we did last Saturday was share our plum harvest. Andy had picked it earlier in the day.

It was only one, and only a couple of inches long, but it was very tasty…Andy managed to pick it just right. We’re hoping for a few more next year.

Some of the simplest things can bring the most pleasure.

In fact, we didn’t get more plums in 2022 because the wildfire destroyed the tree. We tried to order a new one last year but everyone was out. Last night I mentioned to Andy it was probably too late in life for us to try planting another one now. He said, no, he wanted to try. So we got out the Gurney’s catalog, went online and ordered two of them. Andy claims he’ll have time, and be able, to plant them. We’ll see. Do you think he’s too hopeful about ever harvesting a plum again?

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 15 Comments

I Didn’t Know That!

Eclipse Reminder – Earth is the only planet that we know of that has a perfect solar eclipse, since our moon happens to be about the exact same size as our sun when seen from the surface.

As far as we know this is a coincidence, and about a one in a trillion bit of luck.

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 14 Comments

Did You See the Eclipse?

It was cloudy here so neither Andy nor I was aware of when it happened. I was inside and he was probably outside at the time. But Kaitlin and Torben saw it in their yard and said it was over 90% so it was worth watching. What about you?

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 18 Comments

Pictures of Restaurant Food

Andy and I get the New Yorker Day-by-Day Calendar every year. The other morning he laughed and said, “I actually understood this one.” The cartoon showed three people sitting at a restaurant. One was happily eating and the other two were taking pictures of their food. The server looked worried and asked the woman eating,

Is there something wrong with your food?

Do you eat in restaurants much? If so, do you take pictures of your food?

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 20 Comments

We’re Not Complaining!

I laughed at the punch line, but the cartoon is incorrect. We lived in upstate NY (Ithaca) for 8 1/2 years. And yes, the winters were six months long and cold and gloomy. The sun came out about six days total during the winter. But we did get heat in the hot muggy summers…I thought they were worse than the winters. (I was happy there and have a lot of great memories, but it wasn’t because of the weather.)

Anyway, we didn’t complain yesterday when we had snow showers and wind here in “sunny New Mexico”. The high up on the land was about freezing, so Andy stayed down here working on a new electronics design. He’ll go up today to see what it’s like. No complaints here!

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Eleven Months Now

I started studying Spanish with Duolingo May 6, 2023. I’m still doing the minimum each day with Duo and have been watching Netflix programs with Spanish subtitles. Some of it seems to be sticking. Click on the photos for higher resolution.

I love learning new things and watching things grow, so this has been a great hobby… I hope I can continue with it. Bless Duolingo for getting me started.

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 18 Comments

I Forgot to Mention

Andy brought home some tomatoes Sunday afternoon:

Hurray for that greenhouse!

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Basketball Season?

Sometime in the past month or so this backstop of the basketball court broke.

They replaced it Tuesday.

And two of the guys tried it out afterwards.

The management made the right choice in putting the court there.

Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 19 Comments