Stock Tank Gardens

Since it is Mother’s day, and all a mother really wants is help in her garden…I thought I would share the garden I recently put in for my mom.  Mom needs an easy, low maintenance garden that is safe from animals, wind, children, birds and well everything the wild west will throw at her!  She wants to grow herbs and salad greens which she eats daily, as well as some other vegetable that she loves.  Because she lives in the windy, exposed high desert, we needed a container garden situation.  Wooden beds work well, but splinter in the sun and the nice ones are pretty pricey so we chose galvanized stock tank beds.  You can fit them in your car and have a garden growing in one day!! They are high enough you don’t have to to kneel down and you can just pull up a stool and work them if you can’t bend over.  You can grow in any size galvanized steel- even buckets, but these tanks have a drainage hole so you don’t need to drill any holes!

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These tanks cost a hundred bucks each, but they will out live me so I figure it is worth it!   If her gardening experiment doesn’t work she can always turn them into bath tubs, storage bins or simply resell them!  You can get stock tanks locally here and here for starters and pretty much any farm & fed or hardware store.

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Mixed cut and come again lettuce

I made little hoops with 9 gauge galvanized wire like I use in my garden and in the fields but be for warned, you do need bolt cutters to cut the wire.  C3D775C6-6943-4815-9369-A1F768CCE8AF With a piece of medium weight ( 1.5 oz) row cover over top, which they sell by the yard at Agua Fria and Plants of the SouthwestIMG_9923We used plastic clips to attach the row cover to the tank and clothes pins to hold the row cover to the wire hoops bought at Walmart.

stock tank clip

These medium size clips are perfect for keeping the row cover attached to the tank

 

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Broadcast sown Spinach

For filling the beds I filled them 1/4 up with old rocks and gravel we had laying around and them a piece of weed barrier.  On top of that I made a soil mix with

1 part Native soil

1 Part shifted compost

1 Moonshine

( which can be bought locally at Agua Fria Nursery)

1 Part Cocopeat

( which can be bought locally at Agua Fria Nursery)

(I used a 5 gallon bucket to = 1 part)

I mix all that in a wheel burrow with a sprinkle of water.

How much is enough? I did 5 loads using this recipe so that is  5 – 5 gallon buckets of each material.  I made a video for you but an unable to upload it so for now here is a whole post on homemade soil mixes if you wanna give it try.

 

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Carrots are sown in circle in case we want to add irrigation.  They are sown very thick so when you thin them you can add the baby greens to salad- yes they taste just like carrots!

I hope I made that simple enough to inspire you to give it a try.  It really is super easy and highly productive.  I think mom is pretty happy with her high desert harvest today!

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Getting Seedy

IMG_0737Happy Earth Day- which is every day for me, but it always good to remember where you came from, your mother earth!

Today I got a handful of texts and calls asking me the exact same question…

Me….”Hello, growing home hotline”

Friends….”Help! I planted my seeds over a week ago and nothing seems to be happening, is something wrong?”

My first thought was, ‘a watched pot never boils’… are we in our gardens a little too much that are seeds are getting shy? I doubt it.  Maybe something is in the stars…but after the new moon sap with rise again so things should start to sprout right out, but seeds need time, consistent moisture and appropriate temperatures to sprout.

IMG_1028Moisture– Don’t water by habit, water by feel.  You don’t need to water every day but you do need to visit your seedlings everyday.  Touch the soil, get up close.   If the soil is moist to the touch (moist as a rung out sponge) you don’t need to water.  Seeds are only in the first inch of soil so this is the area that needs to be moist.  If when you touch the soil your fingers aren’t moistened, water.  I water daily, but on a cloudy day if the soil isn’t drying out, I leave it.  Outside I use row cover over my seeds, like a blanket.  I sow the seeds, water and them put row cover over them, then water the row cover.  I peek every day or so to check the moisture and water if need be.  When I see sprouts, I remove the row cover and place mini hoops over the bed, then I put the row cover over the hoops so the seedlings don’t get squashed, but still are protected against wind, birds, cats, children, etc… I do fold the row cover back to water with a sprinkler until I have my irrigation up and running.  26D45477-CB87-46F8-84E0-7FCA88C6B3A6***Note- I always water with a watering can or sprinkler with a very fine spray.  Seeds are fragile and can be blasted out of place by a hose or heavy flow from a can.*** Just like this little gardener!IMG_6665

82894CD0-5BEF-4205-81B1-1531A6C74479Temperature

Soil temperature matters more to a seed that air temperature for germination.  If you are starting seeds these days indoors, your seeds should be plenty warm to sprout.  Most vegetable need 70-80 degree temps to germinate, but keep in mind this is the soil temperature which is different than air temperature.  Optimal germination temperatures vary according to the crop, but indoors is plenty warm for all vegetables.  Outside, the soil may still be too cold to activate germination, but right now you should only be sowing cool season crops like peas, lettuce, arugula, kale, chard, broccoli, cilantro, etc….  which all like cool temps to germinate… 2029CBC8-5524-4EFC-A0C2-D2FBA353F6C4I plant peas in the snow and it works every time!  Many people are planting carrot now, which is fine, but it is still chilly out there and they do take a while!  You can do a few things heat up the soil faster like row cover, plastic covers, or mulch, and indoors heating mats work really well for peppers, eggplant and tomatoes, especially in January!… but the soil will warm up soon enough, wait for it!

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Time– Most vegetable seeds need at least 7-10 days to germinate.   If it has been over 2 weeks, your seed may not be viable, but chances are if they are new they are just needing more moisture or warmth to go for it.

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Seed Viability-If your seed is brand new it should have at least 90% germination rate because companies actually test for that.  If you have had your seeds for a while, or  if you are questioning the viability of your seed because it is old or been stored questionably (maybe got too hot or wet?)  you can do a seed viability test.  Basically take ten seeds, place them spaced an inch apart on a moist paper towel.  Slide the towel into a zip lock bag, label it with the date and put it on your fridge… Keep a spray bottle handy because the towel needs to stay moist, but chances are if the zip lock is truly sealed the moisture level will be fine.  Depending on the type of seeds you’re testing, they should begin to germinate anywhere from 2-14 days. (Seeds like peas and beans will sprout faster, while seeds like carrots or parsnips will take much longer).

Once the seeds being to sprout, give them a day or two, and then take note as to how many sprouted vs. how many did not sprout. This will give you a germination rate.

How to test seeds for viability and germination

Out of 10 Tested Seeds

  • 1 seed sprouts = 10% germination rate
  • 5 seeds sprout = 50% germination rate
  • 10 seeds sprout = 100% germination rate

Obviously, the higher the germination rate, the better. Anything over 50% is decent. Anything lower than 50% still might be usable, but you may need to sow more thickly.

Eva GArden 2017Mulch-Mulching is wonderful and necessary to retain moisture, create soil biology and protect your plants, but if a seed bed is over mulched before the seedlings are 3 inches tall it can suppress plants from coming up through it.  I usually apply wet straw mulch around my seedlings, after they are 3 inches tall.  If you do mulch with straw over a seed bed, make sure it is light and lose so the seedlings can push up through it.  Like I mentioned above- Outside I like to use row cover to retain moisture till I get good germination.

IMG_9684Other Factors

Soil Medium– Is there enough drainage in your soil mix?  Some seeds get too much water and the soil isn’t draining properly.  If you just scratch one up you may find they are actually rotting under the soil… it has happened to me!

Depth– Did you plant your seeds too deep?  What about too shallow? Most things need soil contact to germinate ( expect many tiny flower seeds which actually need light to germinate).  My rule of thumb is plant a seed twice as deep as it is wide… some say three times it’s size, but if you are buying seeds every pack will have very specific instructions to follow.

Pests– Did the mice, birds, cats come eat or dig up your seeds in the night?  It’s happened to me!

Compaction– If your soil is too hard or compacted seeds may be struggling to germinate, and even if they do germinate they may not be able to wiggle those tiny roots down into the soil.  Seeds need fluffy soil to take root.

Pre-soak– Many seeds like to be pre-soaked, especially really ones with really hard seed coats like Nasturtiums and Peas.  Could help go things moving, give it a try.

Go here to read more on Seed Starting Indoors

Everything I know I learned by doing… and by reading my favorite seedy book.  Which is where I got those cool charts pictured above.

I hope that helps, have faith , we reap what we sow!

“We are planting seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We have to be patient.”
Michelle Obama, Becoming

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Lady Spring & The Easter Bunny

Bunny and silkEaster morning, the sun still rises over the mountains and the tulips still burst forth.  Prayers of hope, health and new life are stronger today than any Easter I can remember.  This morning my children get my attention, marveling in the miracle of colored eggs and a few new books.  They are the hope for the world and today their joy brings me deep into my own, being grateful for just having them, and just to be with them is a gift many won’t be able to enjoy today.   If you are blessed to be with someone you love today, here is a little story of humility, authenticity and sharing our unique gifts with the world you could share with those you love.

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Here is Suzanne DownsTale of Lady Spring and the Easter Rabbit-

Lady Spring and the Easter Rabbit

Once upon a time, Lady Spring awoke from her long Winter’s nap. Just like last year, and all the years that came before, Father Sun gently tapped her on the shoulder and shone his warm light down on her to wake her.

Lady Spring dressed in her finest gown of sky blue, with a silken ribbon in her hair, and she set out into the meadow to greet all of the animals and flowers. As she walked, she listened and looked for the for the sounds and sights of Spring—children playing in the sunshine, families sowing seeds in their gardens, people celebrating the return of the season … but she saw no one. The doors were all closed, windows shuttered, and the yards and fields lay empty. Where were all the people?

A robin lit on a nearby branch to share his song with Lady Spring. She listened kindly and then asked, “Where are all the dear people of the village? Do they not know that Spring has arrived?” The robin tweeted a reply, for he had flown here and there and had picked up this news in the village: “The Winter was so very long … and so very cold, and everyone has been tucked in tightly into their houses for so long—I don’t think they know that Spring has arrived!”

IMG_1637Lady Spring had an idea. She called out to all the animals of the forest, and they gathered in the meadow. She told them all that the good people of the village needed their help. Someone must share the news that Spring was here. Who would do it?

All of the animals began to shout “Send me, send me!” and Lady Spring announced: “We shall have a race. The animal that can run all the way around the world and return here first will be our messenger.” The animals agreed.

The wild stag went first. “I am the fleetest afoot. Surely I will win the race.” And off he went. But when he got to the rocky hills, he started leaping from rock to rock and ended up playing there for many hours and forgot all about the race.

Next was the salmon. “I can dart through the water and swim with the tides. Surely I shall win the race.” The salmon began swimming as fast as she could, but soon the sunbeams dancing on the stream caught her eye, and she thought the sparkles of light were little flies. For the rest of the day she leaped here and there trying to catch them.

Then the hawk called, “I am the swiftest of all the creatures who circle the earth. Surely I will win the race.” He shot like an arrow into the sky and soared above the meadow, until down in a field, he spotted a mouse. He swooped straight down to get it and forgot all about the race.

The little rabbit went quietly on his way. He never looked left or right, but gazed straight ahead and held steadfastly to his course. Just as the sun was setting, he returned to Lady Spring in the meadow, completing his circle of the earth.

Lady Spring gave thanks to the humble rabbit and asked him to visit the village that night, sharing news of the arrival of Spring. The little bunny asked, “How will they know it’s true?” Lady Spring thought for a moment and then took a small egg from her pouch. She gently gave it to the rabbit and said, “Show them this egg. Just as the golden yolk shines inside the hard shell of the egg, so the light of the sun shines again and warms the earth in Springtime, so that new life can begin.”

The little bunny set out on his way with joy, and every year he journeys from house to house, village to village, bringing beautiful eggs to all the families and sharing the news that Spring has returned.

Stars moon and sun, now my story is done.

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*** Even though we can’t all be together on this beautiful morning, don’t forget to take in the miracles that surround you where you are and share that wonder with the children.***

Bloom where you are planted!- Garden Resource Roundup

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Reading about gardening is almost as good as doing it!! I am so sorry the library is closed and I can’t lend you from my wonderful garden book collection… but if you are gonna buy a gardening book this season, may it be one of these beauties.. don’t ask me which one cause I love all of them.. these are just the favorites off my shelf… I only read gardening books and children’s books!!

Our new “Stay at home” mandate means lots of homework for of us…school work, house work, personal work……this weekend I am taking a deep pause and letting gardening be my only work…. the mess inside will wait!!
I have opened up shop for Facetime Garden Consulting and am so happy to give you site specific, personal advice to get you growing.  I can help you no matter where you live, because growing is universal!

IMG_3382I also want to recommend some local resources for garden beds, soil, plants and row cover because now that I have told you all exactly what to do, I know you are all desperate to get your hands dirty, after all, they have never been this clean!!!

LOCAL GARDEN RESOURCE ROUNDUP– ****UPDATE**** Nurseries have been deemed non- Essential business

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Today we ventured to Country Farm Supply in Espanola ….they sell straw bales, baby chicks (new batch  arriving Thursday) and seeds in bulk!! Who sells seeds in bulk anymore??? They are stocked and open for business… but always good to call first     (505) 753-4500.

Plants of the Southwest– Super therapeutic strolling in the shady river side groove while gathering new fruit trees, berries, natives herbs and vegetables!  They sell row cover by the yard ( new shipment comes in Thursday).  They do have reduced hours to Tuesday- Saturday 8:30-5pm and please know there is only two hard working employees so be patient and kind to them!***Sadly PSW had to close for the month of April, but do check back, those plants are still growing!!****

Agua Fria Nursery Are open and you are free to wander outside as long as you please, only a few customers at a time inside to pay, so please be patient.  They sell Cocopeat         (due to arrive back in stock next week) which I recommend to everyone for making their own potting mix.  They also sell row cover, vegetable starts, amendments and tons of amazing perennials.***All Nurseries are closes until further notice***

Grow y’own raised beds is still in business and busier than ever!  They build and install garden raised garden beds.  There is even a video of how to build a bed that you can be inspired by to build your own!

Paynes Soil Yard is selling compost and soil and delivering even just one yard at a time! The have compost, garden soil and lots of mulches.  1-(505)-424-0336

Reunity Resources – Not only do they now offer curbside kitchen scrap compost pick up, but they will deliver garden compost to you as well!  You can pick up compost too Mon- Fri 8-4pm and Saturday 9-12. Such an amazing resource in the heart of Santa Fe!!

The Feed Bin Sells straw bales, baby chicks ( new shipment every Thursday) and tons of animal supplies.

Paynes Nursery Sells of course plants, seeds, bagged soil, trees, among a million other things!***All Nurseries are closes until further notice***

Santa Fe Farmers Market– Is open and taking great safety precautions!  These hard working farmers have planned and planted and have to work no matter what, cause farming is NOT canceled!! Please support our local farmers if you can safely!!

*****I encourage you to call ahead and get straight on hours and supplies and curbside pick up options first.  These business are so happy to stay open but they need to stay safe too!!******

Amanda Bramble or Amerpersand Learning Center will be hosting her annual fund raising plant sale at the Mind Shaft tavern in Madrid on April 19th… there will be pre- order curbside pick up available.

Also these amazing women at Soul Fire Farm are doing Friday ask a farmer sessions for growing support on Zoom.

Small online Seed Shops

Seeds Savers Exchange– Temporarily closed to catch up on orders

Native Seed Search– Closed till April 17th 2020

Johnny’s Seeds– Not taking new orders till April 6th

Floret Flowers

High Mowing Seeds– Open but 2-3 weeks for shipping most seeds

Baker Creek Seeds

Botancial Interests– Open but higher than usual shipping time

Edible Santa Fe Also put together a list of local food business who are open and need your business Here

 

If I left anyone out, please comment below and I will add them to the list!

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I pulled this book of the shelf today which feature my beloved local poets Kyce Bello and Cynthia West

Just reading the back cover was medicine for my soul. B9F036A5-CABE-487E-B677-315E8FFE8574

Bless the land & bless your hands that they can work in wellness and humble gratitude to bring life, health and goodness to the world!

Please contact me directly for Garden Consultations and Support at erinseedsandstones@gmail.com

Homeward bound-Resources for Creating Resilience & Rhythm at home

C3A3488F-29A4-47F8-A508-2E7333C38745So the world is upside down- we are social distancing- but what are we getting closer to??  Our families, our values, our fears, our confusion…..and as all this uncertainty boils up in us, here we are, at home with our kids, keeping the home fires burning…….how is it going so far?

Over here it’s Saturday morning, I am deeply grateful everyone is healthy & home and that we even have a home!  The groceries are stocked up and I am able to enjoy this cup of coffee and exhale in our isolation where many, many people can not.  The kids are happy, enjoying the freedom that most Saturday mornings bring: ideas stored up from the week, connections with big brother who the littles have been missing all week, beautiful weather, freedom… busy little bees.

This will wear off by lunch time and by 1pm I will be back to refereeing petty fuses between my three kids… and then Monday morning will come… and Tuesday and Wednesday– for weeks!!

Even I, who homeschools and homesteads every single day, pandemic or not, am a bit scared!  There is so much to be scared about in the world right now……but it seems enough people are talking about the world at large that I will leave issues of health, money, safety, security, in equity, politics, etc.. to the experts.  I found this post helpful directly related to children during this time.

What I want to offer is resources, inspirations and resilience for families who are now home for weeks at a time with their kids.  Having kids is a joy, being at home with them is wonderful… but for weeks on end while there is stress in the air of what feels like a world gone mad, whats on my mind is how are we not going to?

D9608503-7A89-486E-B0DD-4AEE29AEE086Though I am no expert, I do have some practice at this stay at home with kids stuff, so just want to offer a few humble resources on how to stay calm and carry on in our homes with our families right now.  Our children feel everything, we are the air they breath, and though they may seem totally unaffected right now, they are sacred too.  It’s an appropriate response, but what can we do as parents to slow down, calm down and kneel and touch the ground?

855E107B-11BE-4D1C-81D6-C29708935BB7Inner Work is real work

The first level is within ourselves- What Inner Practices do we have, or gonna create to stay centered calm, kind and well?

Breathing– The lungs of the world need health right now so even a few deeps breaths will help. I run, so the deep rhythm of deep breaths is actually what carries me along and this morning I was just feeling the health of my lungs and trying to send that out into the lungs of the world.  Every little hope helps!

Praying– No I am not religious, but yes I do pray.  I pray when I run, I pray when I garden and I pray when I sing.  It doesn’t look like me kneeling by my bedside with hands clasped, it is me actively, humbly engaging my spirit with the spirits all around me.  You have your way, I am sure! and if not… I say start with a song.

Singing-Not everyone is into just randomly belting out improve like I am, but singing is how people all over the world, since the beginning of time pray.  Lift every voice to sing till earth and heaven ring!  Your voice matters, it sends a vibration, that your children are wired to resonate with.  Try it…sing your favorite song to your kids at the top of your lungs, they will think it is hilarious!  Here is a song that is my prayer lately. And if you simply can’t sing, being sung to will soothe your soul, listen to this salve for the soul or just turn on some tunes and let it carry you!

Move the body, quiet the mind– Meditate, yoga, run, exercise–Whatever your practice, DO NOT STOP this week.  If you don’t have a practice, find one!  You will need it now more than ever. A dear friend said to me this morning, ” Isolation is a ceremony with yourself”…. in our cases with our families, if we saw it that way would it help?

Sleep– I am serious!  You know you don’t get enough of it, ever!! and this moment will never arise again- so go ahead, go to sleep early every night this week. Your body, mind and immune system will thank you!

27C7481D-8F6C-4F15-AD9D-9DB87B95EB6A“Overwhelmed is Underprepared”

A wise woman once told me, though during times like these, it is simply unavoidable! But how can we prepare so we are not spun out completely? Many of you are way more organized and have high level leadership positions, so this is small potatoes to you… but for the harried mom like me;

Evaluate– What MUST get done, what can we let go of right now for the time being? We can’t do it all – at least not all at once.  Give yourself a break and just do what you can and must!  The rest can wait. Simplifying may make life easier, if only for this week!  NPR has an article about getting set up to work from home here.  If it work is what MUST get done, all the other house work MUST go! Remember- you can never recreate school, work, the world at home so please don’t try!! .  You have to just be home, and bring a flow and form that works in that environment and create a current that can carry you there.

Set Intentions– If we used this moment to reset- what would we let go of?  What would we invite more of into our lives and families? What is it we are really valuing, modeling and holding sacred right now?  How does that express itself in our actions? It can be as simple as “I want my children to feel safe, so I will hold them more this week”

Some might go even further with older children and use this time to create a list of family values, so we know who we are and what we stand for with so much uncertainty around.  Here is a nice list to inspire.

Plan- There is nothing so luxurious as a Sunday morning at home with nothing to do and no where to be.  Enjoy it and soak it in!!  And then plan for Monday! School and work give form and rhythm & routine to our life that invisibly carry us.  We are already totally in our daily groove, now we just need to re-adjust little. One of the hardest things about being a stay at home mom is entropy.  You never feel like you are getting anywhere… cause you are not going anywhere!  It can make you go postal if you don’t watch out!  For all of us our, even if we are at home everyday with baby, our rhythms have been severely interupted these day!  We are not only feeling the chaos but the disruption of our routines!

Here is a great article I share in my Parent & Child classes about Rhythm in the Home- A great article by a Kinder teacher in New Zealand- Helle Heckman from Waldorf Today. Here is my daily rhythm, that is designed for people who can’t read yet… I am no artist but my kids love it! Another nice rhythm chart can be found on the Lifeways blog here.

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This is our days of the week rhythm chart– I am not an amazing artist but my kids like the symbols ( cause they can’t read) Notice everything is in pencil, cause as we know things change!!

 

Daily Rhythm

“Daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms are the anchors that provide security and happiness to your child. With a strong daily rhythm a child knows what to expect and what is expected of him. With rhythm, simple daily activities (chores, self-care, mealtimes) become habits instead of arguments. If children have regular external rhythms, internal rhythms will develop- the child’s metabolism will be more predictable, hunger will occur at the same time each day and sleepiness will creep in at the usual bedtime.  In the early years especially, daily rhythms should revolve around food, sleep and unstructured play both indoors and outdoors. These rhythms are upheld with repetitive rituals such as mealtime blessings or a lullaby before bed.”– From the “Return to Rhythm Guide” available for free from Whole Family Rhythms Blog

 

Once you know what MUST be done in the weeks ahead you can create a daily rhythm framework for your family.  Chances are you already have a daily rhythm:

Ex:Breakfast, school, work, Aikido, grocery shop, home, dinner, bed, sleep, repeat…

Once you write it down you will have a few time blocks to fill… like the 40 hours a week of school that will not be happening! In school everything is already blocked out and your children know the rhythm in their bodies and need that same rhythm at home to carry them happily through the day.

Now is a great chance to set the stage and expectations ( if you children can talk, if not this happens inside of you)

This morning I told my kids, ” So we will be home together for this week, what is important to you that happens?”

The eight year old said “Experiments???!!!”( I have no idea where he got that idea but cool)- I ordered a soil test cause all I want to do is work in my garden,  so we are both happy!!31B29CE4-BD92-4EF1-832B-6C863071567C

The three year old said- “polish my new boots”- so in the moment, love that guy!  It will change every ten minutes but he gets an idea and is so happy to accomplish things.

The five year old said “go on adventures with my brothers”- Which means river romps, nature walks and going just beyond our normal reach- Great!  I am in!

So I look at our normal home day rhythm and mentally map how today will flow.  I won’t change anything, but tuck some microscope time into the rest time block and a trip to the river in our evening outdoor time block.  This will look very similar to to the block schedule they use in schools or time blocking.  Nothing new for the more organized in the bunch, but for those of us who would never bother write down the flow of a day at home, let me just say, it is helpful if only to have something to look back on to show you, you did in fact do something, or lots of things successfully in a day!

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In Anthroposophy the days of the week are aligned with planets, grains, colors, gestures, stones, organs, plants, angels and so much more it will take me a lifetime to understand!

 

My Daily Rhythm for Days at Home

6:00-7am –Wake and Snuggle– I do have the luxury most days of waking slowly and snuggling my littlest ones.  It is soul food for us both and honestly just as important to our well being as eating.  It is getting briefer as they get older and I know that morning snuggles too shall pass, so I indulge in them as much as I can now. Now that my biggest isn’t rushing off to school he joins us and we read books in bed.  This is when my eldest reads to all of us to, that way reading practice is accomplished before even getting out of bed!  Big Win! My kids do get themselves dressed so once we snuggle everyone is up and at it, even if clothes go on backwards! I throw a load of laundry in almost every day- that way it doesn’t get away from me!

43AAA02A-D7F7-4A29-835F-596A4EC22D0D7-8 am- Eat and Run-Often it is eat and run out the door to work & school, but on my home days, which is now everyday, I go running.  I find that if I start the day with a run I feel generous because my cup is filled, my mind is clear and my body is at ease. ( I do have a partner who is present so I can do this and I realize that is a huge gift and luxury and I am grateful when he is here!! Now that he is home as on weekends, he feeds the kids breakfast and I am out the door with a cup of coffee and my running shoes on). While I run, at home my eldest goes for a bike ride up and down the lane and gets some energy out.  Once he gets outside, he stays and his little brother often follows.  They have to feed their animals and they always find something to do out there.  My daughter often stays in a draws and play with her babies while the morning buzz happens.

D40F0497-01EC-4E17-9F3A-9ED27B55A5F89-10am-Morning Activities -Once I am fed, and showered and dressed, which is do pretty quickly,  I then I give to myself children.  Mornings are great for focused activities:  We do painting, Finger knitting, saltdough, beeswax modeling, baking, color stories, drawing, online art lessons, word practice, letter stories, flute practice, circle time, penpals, this week we have started up again with writing letters to our cousins and friends who live far away….so many things in this hour the kids are so nourished and honestly kinda done with me… so off they go to be free, while I am onto my thing and if they want they join me.  After we have done focused learning, and clean it up, I set them free…and I am free.  If I really give to my children they often go off and play happily for a while!  I haven’t always done this- I really would prefer to get a load of laundry in, kitchen cleaned, dinner prepped and then begin, and when my kids were a little bit younger in the toddler years this was our whole morning; changing diapers, washing diapers, cleaning, cooking.  The work of the home was our curriculum and the little ones just helped out and followed me around…..some days we still flow like this with the littlest while the bigger ones have things they want to do…

***But I just want to say, in these days to come especially- starting with an activities may be your best bet.  You know when you scramble around hastily trying to get everything set so you can be centered while the volume in the room slowly goes up…. you know that tone when you kids are just not harmonizing and you know you need to lean in, but oh how you want to lean out!! Yeah, lean in, you can fix that funk with your presence and attention, fill them up and set the whole day straight. 59DE1D12-98B2-43DD-843E-0CD5DA6F960C

11-12 Free time/ chores– The kids play outside and I care for the greenhouse and animals and get lunch and dinner prepped.  Often I have a helper who wants to be near mommy so I have a little helper.

1pm –Food– Today they came in hungry so I put on a Sparkle Story for them and they listened quietly while I finished lunch.  Then I feed them and we reconnect.  With the little ones it is often hard to get them to eat… So I read or tell them stories during lunch  I pause at every page or pauseable moment and say “Take a bite” and we all pause for a bite, including me.  My kids are so into stories this works like a charm, but I realize they have to be a certain age where stories are captivating enough to be motivating, usually not till age 3.5 does this really work!

1-2pm – Clean up -After eating we all clean and tidy (yes if children are home making messes they will be expected to clean them up with help– just like at school! We clean as we go throughout the day and we don’t start anything new until the old is all put away, otherwise I would go totally mad!) I sing to them the tidy song, some of you know from my Parent & Child Classes, and then it is rest time…

2pm Rest Time-We all get in my bed, we read one book for each child and then to the  potty and off to rest nests.  No buts about it.  It’s how it goes.  I am the loving authority of my home and I go this! ( and so do you) If they do this already at school, do everyone a favor and try to stay with it at home, they know the drill and holding that rhythm for them is a gift.    This has taken years of practice, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t go very well at first… but teachers are trained in this very fine art of settling themselves and bringing in their energy to create the calm, sleepy vibe.  It is truly a superpower when you can get a whole room of wild youngans to sleep, but really the only secret is total commitment and practice.

2-4pm I Work /They Rest-I realize that once a child hits 6 actually sleeping at rest time is highly unlikely but handwork, reading, or even listening to a story is restful and important to disengage from each other.  Being together all the time is taxing on all of us, especially me so I really hold strong to my time.  I write, work on the computer, phone calls, whatever work I simply can’t do with them around…( this does not include, gardening, dishes, cooking, cleaning)

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4pm Wake & Tea time!  -When they awake they find me always in the same sunny spot, at my computer in the living room.  They curl up on the couch besides me and sometimes even fall back to sleep!! They wait for the others to wake up and enjoy being quietly by my side alone! We have mint, lemon balm, rose hip tea (all home grown) and snack- usually we eat graham crackers & apple slices with cinnamon– they are special but not too junky!  My kids know this as a treat and because they know they will always get them at tea time everyday so that knowing it is consistent this eliminates a lot if issues around treats, because we have a time of day we get treats they usually don’t ask for them other times of the day.

5-6pm Dinner prep- I actually hate being inside from 4-6pm right now with all this glorious evening light, the golden hour.  My kitchen is dark and I just can’t take being inside.  It is my favorite time of day and I like to work in my garden.  If I am organized enough I had dinner already prepped and on its way.  Sometimes I ask my husband to do dinner cause I just don’t like to – I grow it you cook it!! When I simply must make dinner and my children are done outside I put on a Sparkle Story, Free audible story, a Circle Round Story or a Mystery Doug video for them to watch.  * (We don’t have a TV and my kids don’t really have any screen time except for Mystery Doug (science videos) and some special movie moments.  I find listening to stories is so relaxing for them and still stimulates their imaginations and gets me the break I need.)

If we are lucky enough to be outside till 6pm I say this verse to call them all back in and we head in for supper. *****As you may know about me and many Early Childhood teachers, we sing and say lots of verses….These things mark transitions for children and are consistent and rhythmic and easy on the ears… and feel so much better coming out of our mouths than yelling  “come on children let’s go!”  When we feel good we do good, and the children just come along for the ride. Here’s a wonderful inspiration to start singing more!

Evening is coming

The sun sinks to rest

The birds are all flying straight home to their nests

Caw caw said the crow, as she flies overhead (in the sky)

come little children we are going to bed (time to go inside)

Here comes the pony.

His work is all done,

Down through the meadow

he takes a good run.

up go his heels,

and down goes his head.( feet)

It’s time little children

we’re going to bed.( eat)

Adapted From Seven Times the Sun by Shea Darian

54B41A64-592A-47A4-822E-C4CC10FE49706:30pm- Dinner: Wash hands, all help set the table, gather at the table, light candles, say verses and eat!! We often go around and share a rose and a thorn from the day to practice listening and speaking to others instead of the “mommy mommy mommy listen to me” choir!

ED4AF2EF-80D8-4173-8873-B041806EC32E7:30pm- Clean up -Clear table, bed get in bath (only twice a week unless we have a very dirty day), get in PJ’s, Brush teeth and hair, off to bed.

8pm- Bed-My children all share a room so one parent lays in bed and reads until they are all there and slowly they all drift off to sleep….. including me is asleep!!! ( often I get up and work till 11pm but last night I passed out and slept the whole night through, tonight I got big plans on doing the same!)

Setting a daily rhythm for your weeks ahead may help you and yours weather the storm together.  It might even make you calmer, closer and more connected.  There is so much more to say about how to be in quarantine with your family, but my time is up!!  I did find a great post here that has tons more ideas that I found inspiring.  Also if you really need to just listen instead of read all this, here is a great podcast on Daily Rhythm at home that I enjoyed, and hey if homeschooling sticks here is a great resource for starting a homeschool rhythm.  Hoping for the best, good luck in there!

UPDATE: There are tons of Homeschool resources out there that are giving away free curriculum right now. Here is your chance to try them out!

Earthschooling

A Waldorf Journey

Live Ed

Christopherus

Waldorf Inspirations

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What to Plant & When?

Over the years I think the most common question I get asked as a garden teacher is “What do I plant, and when?” I have answered the best I can, sent people to my favorite books, taught classes, blogged about it….But I fear I may be giving too long and complicated answers… the basic home gardener doesn’t want calculate and compute, they just want to know what to plant and when and get on with it, am I right!!  So here is this years attempt to make gardening in the high desert all the more straight forward and accessible to everyone.  Please keep in mind, many might argue with me, as we gardeners all love our own way of doing things..I am just sharing what I do and what I believe you can do too. This post is loaded with links so be sure to click on them for more info.

January–

Plan– Take a seed count, Order any seeds from your favorite Companies,( Mine are Johnny’s, Seeds Savers Exchange, Native Seed Search , Order potatoes (companies can and do sell out)

PlantGreenhouse (Indoor south-facing window) Onions, Leeks, Scallions, Tomatoes(yes it seems early but is works for me)Lettuce, Cilantro

Cold Frame– Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens.

February–

Plan– Decide where you might want to put everything measuring square footage, you can use graph paper, or this fancy software. Once you know how much of what it is you want to grow, you can really start.

Plant- Greenhouse (Indoor south-facing window)Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards  (these can also be direct sown outside next month),Tomatoes

Cold Frame– Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Carrots, Chard

Outdoors with Row Cover-Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens,

March-

Plan-Order Compost (I like to put down compost every year, about 1inch thick on all my veggie beds, if you can produce this much on sight, well done!!, if not it is worth buying some here) Plan/Purchase Irrigation system–lots to say on this matter, but this year we are going with t-tape.(more on all that later)

Plant

Greenhouse (Indoor south-facing window)

Basil

Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, (can also be planted directly at under cover outside)

Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant

Cucumber, Melon, Winter Squash (Pumpkin, Butternut, Acorn, Etc…)Summer Squash (zucchini, Yellow Squash) These all do well direct seeded outside later in the season

Flowers- Calendula, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Snap Dragons, Tithonia, Zinnias (direct sowing works very well for all of these later in the season, I just have a greenhouse and can’t help myself!)

Cold Frame– Spinach, Mache, Cilantro, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Carrots, Chard, Beets

Outdoors with Row Cover-Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard,

Outdoors in the great wide open– Potatoes, Spinach, Peas, Radishes, Lettuce, Dill, Chives, Flowers- Sweet Peas…I always try to get these guys in by St. Patty’s day, but am usually about a week or so late.

Just a note-March is when I really start planting outside as I am lazy with cold season watering.  If I were more serious about production I would be gardening year round, but March really feels right to me, everything must rest, right?!!  Remember, once you put seeds in the ground, you need to keep them moist for them to germinate and grow, granted the soil dries-out much slower in the cool season, but this is the desert, so only sow when you are ready to hand water (irrigation usually isn’t turned out till May).  If you are watering outdoors in the cold months (you should be watering perennials and trees every 2-4weeks with these dry winters)…..always drain and unhook your hoses, they can freeze and burst and cause you real trouble!!

April

Plan- Spread compost and lay irrigation if that is part of your plan. Till or dig any bed you plan to turn.

Plant-

Greenhouse (Indoor south-facing window) I am full up in the Greenhouse by this time and just watering my babies.  I always try to have a flat of sunflower sprouts growing, you can sow these once a week.

Cold Frame-Pepper, Eggplant (If your cold frame is tall enough this ensures a nice hot mini greenhouse that you can close up if we get frost before they ripen in the fall)

Outdoors with Row Cover- Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard,

Outdoors in the great wide open- Onions, Leeks, Scallions,Potatoes, Spinach, Mache, Lettuce, Arugula, Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Chives, Peas, Radishes and other cold season greens, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard, Beets, Parsnips, Flowers- Marigolds, Snap Dragons, Sweet Peas

May (Last Frost date May 15th)

Plan-Spread compost and lay irrigation if that is part of your plan. Till or dig any bed you plan to turn.

Plant-

Outdoors in the great wide open- (Direct seed or transplanted from the greenhouse)

Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Carrots, Chard, Beets, Parsnips, Beans, Corn, Squash, Cucumbers, Melons, Amaranth, Basil, Flowers- Calendula, Marigolds, Sunflowers, nasturtiums, Cosmos, Zinnias

Who Did I Forget?- Garlic is planted in the fall, sweet potatoes I have yet to try though they are getting experimented with in gardens all around me, Bok choy- yet to really succeed against the flea beatles, but will let you know when I truly get a successful crop!

Well I hope that helps– never a short answer from me, but hopefully somewhat simple and straight forward?  Happy gardening!

Kinder at Home -Resources & Inspiration

As many of you know I am homeschooling my littlest ones- ages 3 & 4.  This really means “being” at home together in a joyful way… moving slow and steadily through our day of work and play with songs, story, food, rest and fresh air as top priorities… It sounds as natural & easy as breathing… and that is the way I hope it feels to them, but honestly it takes a lot of practice and work for it all to flow and for me to be joyful and calm enough to hold that tone all day!!! But practice does make progress and our days are mostly truly delightful!  My secret is that I don’t do this every day!! Only three or four days a week right now and one of those days we have another friend along for the ride!

 

How I got here is one story but for now, I wanted to share the resources I have gathered over the years with you that inspire my days with the littles ones (besides my inner resources of course…that is a whole other blog post!)

So to start the year of with an offering: here are my favorite Kinder at Home Books with links in hopes of inspiring songs, verses, stories and crafts into your day with ease and fluidity!

WALDORF KINDERGARDEN INSPIRATION BOOKS

Tell Me a Story-Published By WECAN
https://store.waldorfearlychildhood.org/products/tell-me-another-story

A Child’s Seasonal Treasury- Betty Jones
https://www.amazon.com/Childs-Seasonal-Treasury-Education/dp/099149220X

Kindergarten with your There to Six Year Old- Donna Simmons
& Joyful Movement By Donna Simmons
https://www.christopherushomeschool.com/early-years/

Seven Times the Sun By Shea Darian
https://www.sheadarian.com/

Sing A Song of Season, Sing a Song With Baby, Pentatonic Delight, Cante Cante Elephante
by Mary Thienes-Schunemann
https://naturallyyoucansing.com/shop?olsPage=products

The Children’s Year by Cooper, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling
Festivasl, Family and Food by Diana Carey & Judy Large
Hawthorn Press
https://www.hawthornpress.com/

The Wise Enchanter- A journey through the Alphabet by Sheley Davidow & Krytuna E. Kurzyca
https://www.amazon.com/Wise-Enchanter-Journey-through-Alphabet/dp/0880105623

Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn Tales by Suzanne Downs
https://junipertreepuppets.com/collections/juniper-tree-resource-books-and-puppet-crafts

Whole Family Rhythms seasonal books– Winter – Spring -Summer -Autumn by Megan Wilson of WholeFamilyRhytyms.com (which appears to be sleeping right now)

 

Sparkle & Silk Time- Holiday Market Dec. 7th!

It has been a beautiful season of our lives… our children are growing and thriving, as is my garden, my imagination, as am I!

I am working more, playing more, running, hiking, singing and smiling more!  I have so much to be thankful for… but alas, still long for more time to create!!  Keeping up with all the movements doesn’t leave much quiet time to sit down and make things, but for those of you who follow me on Instagram (which I discovered this year too as am awesome tool for a creative mom on the move!)…………………

I spent many days this summer learning about natural dyes from my beloved desert plants!  I had so much fun gathering sagebrush after a long summer day at Lake Abiquiu while my children slept in the car next to me letting and sharp clean scent stain my fingertips and sweaty hands… and picking prickly pear at my beloved Amanda and Andy’s place out in the hills of Cerrillios watching a passing thunder storm and double rainbow!!!!!

… oh and the Gallardia, Black eyed Susan and Sunflower gathering at my mom’s meadow in Nambe, NM while my fairy child fluttered around my channeling songs for the flowers… a dream come true!!

My husband built me an outdoor kitchen many moons ago and it really got some good use this year I am happy to say, where I made a delightfully beautiful mess!!!….There were a few years there where I thought I would never do anything again beside change diapers and do dishes, much less create…Happy to report, no more diapers and the dishes can wait!

So all this to say I will be bringing my Desert Dyed play silks along with my gemstones jewelry to market this holiday season….. I only do ONE holiday market, so I hope you all come and see me and my treasures!!

December 7th from 10-3 pm at the Santa Fe Waldorf school Holiday faire in the Artisan Market.  It is a well curated show and will be featuring a group of amazing artists this year, so it is well worth the trip! Come out and support local beauty this season!!!