Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sproutings at Green Bin Farm

Green Bin Farm continues to grow. John and I finished construction on yet another raised bed garden. We now have three 8' x 4' raised gardens and two potato boxes. We started seedlings March 21st in our windows and already we have broccoli, several varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, peppers and two varieties of potatoes peeking green buds up out of soil for us. We are eager for the hot afternoons in the garden harvesting our crops.

Why do we call it Green Bin Farm? Couple reasons - first of course, it's our "green" effort. We are trying to be a more economical (cheap), self sustaining people. We compost everything we can, recycle and reuse avidly. Secondly, a large portion of the structures we've built make use of materials from the discount end cuts bin from our local Home Depot. Each board in the discount bin is sprayed with green paint on one end to designate its $0.51 discounted price, thereby "Green Binned". We buy out of the Green Bin because it's cheap and all discounted lumber is cut to 4' lengths - less cutting. We built the entire dog house in just 2 or 3 cuts!! The only downside to the Green Bin is you have to be careful about selecting boards without twists, turns, knots and warping, and because its the discount bin, you can't count on anything in particular being available when you need it. When we find a good stock, we stock up. As a rule, at $0.51/board you can't go wrong.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Long Cold Winter

It's been a long cold winter. I feel like we felt the first shadows of winter all the way back in September when we experienced a cold night in the Old Port and saw frost on the windshields in Maine. We returned to the desert and forgot, only to be reminded again on Independence Pass, where I felt so stupid walking in dress shoes through snow 4 inches deep - a fashion before logic event. Again we returned home to warmer weather, but this time it didn't last. In early December we stacked away 2 cords, thinking we were good for TWO years. It's almost gone now. New Years was bitterly cold and windy in Northeast Arizona - so cold that waiting an hour for our sodas, and another 45 minutes for our less-than-Denny's-class dinners was bearable over leaving for a different dinner option. Fast forward many fires in the wood stove to March. We've been out on the motorcycles ONCE since early October... anyone who knows John knows it's been REALLY COLD. That itch is forming a nasty rash. Just 5 more degrees and it's "Leave a message, we'll return your call, maybe."

The few "warm" days we've had this winter were spent on gardening projects. We are very excited about Green Bin Farm. We've added two potato gardens (I'll blog more about this project later.) and built a compost enclosure. We are researching greenhouse options, and have even tossed around the responsibilities of adding chickens (Stinky and Chica weighing in). In January we joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture) and have enjoyed inspiring organic vegetables ever since. The box provides us with culinary challenges and new experiences such as broccolette, purple potatoes (ask me about Mashed Barney) and lots of cauliflower. Its been a fun and delicious experience and we are excited to add new foods and heirloom varieties to our garden. We're finally thinking the worst of winter is past us and we can start to plan. Soon we'll have seedlings all over the house and evenings will be spent having dinner in the front garden and watching UFOs fly over the mountain - we're sure they do!

Firey Foods & Barbecue Show 2010

John and I attended the annual Firey Foods & Barbecue Show this weekend out at Sandia Resort & Casino. Although I'm not a fan of "hot" food, I do enjoy the opportunity to sample all of the different salsas, dip mixes, candies and various other chili pepper inclusive foods. Usually the beer tasting helps my tolerance, as do the chips, pretzels, cheeses, and ice cream samples, but this year there wasn't anything that was capable of putting out the fire I experienced courtesy of the German Chili Police and their "Painmaker" sauce. I have no idea how many Scoville I experienced, nor to I know what inspired me to taste before consulting John who'd tasted just seconds before. I do know that no food has ever made me spontaneously cry or fear the scorching revisit of vomit. The police win. This stuff was "edible mace" and I will never answer the question "Do you like it hot?" quite the same way again.

On the upside, we enjoyed many fruit inclusive salsas this year, and I'm looking forward to canning some different recipes this year. Also, I met some wonderful people and I look forward to working with them to improve their websites and online marketing.