The Creative Cave

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Oakley’s first encounter with water paper and brush

November brought me a beautiful gift…Some childcare and some quiet time in my little cave to create. ( Thanks Mom) For me creativity is a part of life, like breath, that must be expressed.  This year has allowed very little time for creative acts, almost like this part of myself went into hiding, but this month I have carved out some precious moments to create again and let me tell you it soothes the stifled soul and breathes life back into places where there was none!!!

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It’s not only the making of things from my imagination into tangible things, but the actual stones, their colors, their magic that seeps in through my eyes and fingers tips, acting like little doses of medicine for a hungry soul.IMG_7971

img_7968.jpgWhy so much creative energy on Jewelry? ….I have been gearing up for my first Jewelry sale in two years which will be at the Santa Fe Waldorf School this Saturday. I will be selling along side one of my favorite local artists and friends, Becca from Tree of Life Studio.   There will be a ton of crafters that only share there wares at this one show so if you are looking for beautiful hand made gifts made with much love and care, I personally think this show is one of the towns best keep secrets!!  So come on out and support me and other local mamas, as well as the scholarship fund for the Waldorf school, chances are you know someone who benefits from this directly!

Hope to See you Saturday!!

Planting for Fall

The summer lull is passing, the rains are here and the harvests are starting to roll in with no effort from me, many pounds of Summer Squash, Zucchini, Kale, Cabbages, Chard and a tomato or two!  IMG_6962.JPGI really don’t do much in the garden in July, maybe prune some tomatoes, thin some beets and water as much as I can, ( in addition to irrigation I often run the sprinkler just because my plants seem to scream in the heat)  I kind of dry up myself and just sit in the river and wait!…IMG_6960.JPGBut then the light changes, the heat softens and the world turns just enough to feel the shift and I return to the garden again.

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So many folks tell me this time of year, ” Oh I really didn’t garden this summer, (with a sigh) maybe next year….”  It’s not too late, in fact no better time really!! Warm soil, falling rain, golden light and rainbows!  It is a second spring and even better than the first if you ask me!  We still have three more months of growing season here!  IMG_6686I pull out cabbage and make room for carrots, I scratch in beets seeds, spinach, cilantro, lettuce, arugula under burgeoning Basil plants and next to heavily harvested Kale.  I sneak in things where ever I can, in fact underneath is a great place to plant now because other plants can provide some shade in the heat and protection from the soil drying out too quickly for germinating seeds… some plants will be pulled out in a month or two and by then your understory will need the waning light.  IMG_6676Now is a great time to dig in some compost and plant a whole succession of fall salad greens.  You can use row cover as shade cloth and to help keep moisture in for germinating, remember the secret to getting seeds to germinate in a hot garden is that they must NEVER dry out completely… but if you are back from vacation you can handle a little watering every day!  If you plant every two weeks for the next two months you will surely supply yourself with salad for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!! What a better gift than your very own food for your family!IMG_6819

Snap shoots of summer

I seem to have let my blog posts lapse a lot this year, still finding my way with it all I suppose… But I still do take pictures everyday and they help me track what on earth I have done with my life lately… Small and simple and slow summer time over hereIMG_6665

Watering and watering IMG_6714.JPG

Growing and growingIMG_6680.JPG

Harvesting and harvesting IMG_6711

Cherries cherries cherries!!!

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Nan king,IMG_6704North star ( 30lbs!!)

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Cherry CobblerIMG_6764

Summer sewing

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Blue hatsIMG_6809Garden dresses and matching bonnets

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Cabbage harvestingIMG_6941

Cole slaw and KrautIMG_6839

And lots of sparklers!!!

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Daily swims

IMG_6827Casting shadows in the setting sun.

Happy Mother’s Day Mamas

It has been a very full 6 years, three beautiful children born to us, healthy and strong, which I celebrate today and everyday.IMG_5095

I feel super blessed to have brought such wonderful, bright, resilient beings to this earth and I pray everyday that I may guide and nurture them to continue to be so every day they are on this earth.

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Mama Katie and her first of three, Lanie

I also feel blessed to have so many beautiful, brave mamas in my life and I love to take this day to celebrate them.  I have taken many pictures of pregnant mamas over the years as I have become a mother and these are just a few among many mamas I have been inspired by.

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Mama Becca and her three

Their beauty, wisdom and strength have guided my journey in a remarkable way.  These mamas have taught me to sing, dance, pray and process this metamorphorphisis of the spirit of motherhood.

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Mama Brenna and her third

Without my conmadres, I would have lost my way years ago.   Thank you mamas for sheparding my way, I love you so!

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Mama Madi and her third

The last is a poet, Jennifer Ferraro, who wrote this poem years before being a mama herself, but somehow knew so deeply what the call of motherhood felt like. This photo was taken while she recited her beautiful poem, Blessing for one about to be born, to me from memory, her words lifted on the wind.

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Mama Jennifer and her first

She finally became a mother this spring after many long years of waiting.  Here is her beauty and her words along with my photos– I post this every year because it is just so perfect for a little motherhood tear today.  Happy Mother’s Day!

And lastly of course, my very own mother, without her none of this beautiful life would have been possible.  Love you mom.IMG_2604

Hardening off and going in the ground!!

The weather has been a bit crazy lately- snow, wind, rain… but the more moisture the better right!

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It is actually really great to have your soils nice a wet before you do your planting on May 15th ( last frost date in Santa Fe and most Zone 6 areas).  You never want to plant into mud, because walking on soppy soils can compact the soil and create a hardpan…. but moist is good!  SO this weekend should be perfect for planting!  Most of us will be planting Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants, Cucumbers, Zucchini, and the like which are all fruits… and this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are all Fruit days according the the bio-dynamic calendar.

I know what I want for Mothers Day!! ( Help in the garden of course!) IMG_6537

If you haven’t started hardening off your transplants- start today!! Put those babies out in the rain! I actually moved my tomatoes out to this shady table last week.  IMG_6381At night I haven been covering them with row cover and often leave it on in the very direct sunny morning hours…Row cover is also great for crazy hail storm protection too!IMG_6417

I forgot about them some time a couple of days ago and they have been faring the nights just fine and are doing great!  They are jumping out of their pots so Mother’s Day I will be planting all day!IMG_6538

Once you have toughened your plants up to being outside it is important to baby them a bit more after planting.  Even though they may be hardened off, they are still so tender and juicy that they can get eaten, sun baked, wind blown or even pummeled with hail!… So take simple precationary measures.  You can put them under row cover or use simply use a handmade cloche to protect them till they get rooted and established in the garden.

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Glass Cloche for sale in Italy

My very simple homemade cloche is a sparkling water bottle I pulled out of the recycling can and cut the bottom off.  I have used these for years!!

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Milk Jugs are even better cause they are a bit bigger and have that nice translucent plastic that filters the light a bit and keeps the plants a tiny bit cooler.  Whatever you use, you need to make sure to take the cap off too so the hot air flows out, otherwise your little plants will bake themselves to death in the mini greenhouses!IMG_6549.JPG

Leave these on and water in and around them until the plant is too big to fit. Here are a few posts from years back on Hardening off, Row Cover, Spring Greens and Creative Shade covers, Transplanting tips and of course Tomatoes!!

Get ready for a big planting weekend!  And of course Happy Last Frost Day!!!

 

 

How low can they go?

IMG_6363May is lovely- but can be wild too.  As we have seen this weekend in Santa Fe- a foot of snow!!IMG_6364

It is such a transitional time, the last burst of winter before it finally passes.  I looked back on my calendars and it does usually snow every year in the first week of May, so though odd, it is actually to be expected.

IMG_6360But the good news is no harm done over here.  All the little cool season greens and seeds were tucked under row cover and only seemed to perk up from crisp air all the moisture gifted to them.  If you are wondering how cold CAN your cold season crops get…wellIMG_6383

How low can they go?

IMG_6377The hardiest of the winter vegetables are Kale, Collards, Peas and Spinach which can take Temps as low as low 20’s and in the high teens.

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Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Parsley, Radish, Parsnip, Turnip can all take temps 28-25 degrees.

All of these can survive under thick row cover all winter, though they may not show many signs of growth, they will start to spring new leaves in February.

Other semi-hardy vegetables are Beets, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Endive, Lettuce, Radicchio, Rutabega, Salsify, Bok Choy, Tatsoi and Swiss Chard, tolerant of Temps from 32-29degrees.  These can usually be harvested till Christmas under heavy row cover, but will need to be replanted in the spring under row cover as well. (with the exception of Swiss Chard, this patch was almost invisible all winter under no row cover… but is coming back just fine!)

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So not to worry, the storm has passed, we have gathered the moisture and now we prepare for hardening off and the planting out process… More on that to come.

Save

Feeding People?Got plants?Come Get Em!

Well I do!  And it is time to find these babies good new homes.  I always overdo it, those little seeds are so tiny and the conditions in the greenhouse, oh so right.  What can I say we have germination down over here, but 450 tomatoes, what was I thinking!!!!

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The good news is I have gotten a lot of help this year with seed sowing, transplanting and bed digging.  We were blessed by traveling interns from Community Rebuilds in Moab Utah,

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lovely, hard working hands from my SFCC Gardening days,IMG_6094

and my very own garden school for wee onesKunz Girls

So thanks to all this help, we have been getting the job done and it is time to give back.IMG_6115

What to do with all this abundance?  We only have 1/5 of an acre and it is pretty much full already!!  For the past 17 years I have worked in Santa Fe with School gardens or Garden Education of some kind so my greenhouse and hard work went to good use growing for the masses… Until this year! (not counting my own little garden school of course).

IMG_9108My world has grown so small and yet I have never worked so hard in my life.  It’s an odd feeling I must say, and simply feeding my own family and friends simply does not feel like enough when one in every five people in New Mexico experience hunger of some sort. It is just not right and right now it feels really hard to do anything about it.

So my simple, humble attempt to nourish a few more people than my tiny family this season is to give away my healthy baby tomatoes to people who are working with school gardens/ non profits this season and can offer them a good life and help bring food and farming to the future gardeners of our community and healthy food to anyone (and everyone) who needs it.  (Sadly this offer is only for my local readers, as I am not mailing baby plants anywhere)….IMG_9693

but if you are a local and working to feed, teach and grow this season I would be honored to give you some plants. First come first serve so…

Leave a comment letting me know who you work with a which ones you would like and you can help me feed more people!!!I will arrange a drop off time in Santa Fe with you in the coming weeks.

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Tomato list- (most of the seeds I used I have saved myself over the years, but I am pretty sure the link below were the original sources and will give you a description of the varieties)

Black Krim

Cherokee Purple

Pink Brandywine

Amish Paste

Chadwick Cherry

Virginia Sweet

Risentraube

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Lady Spring and the Easter Rabbit

It is the first day of spring and today began with an odd twist.  For those of your with littles ones around, or those who just appreciate a good story… Here is a little tale for your first day of spring…

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You see our pet bunny, Peter Rabbit, was missing.  It seemed he had dug a tunnel through the garden and escaped sometime early in the morning!  I was wrought with guilt because my son had warned me he would do just that and I neglected to move the cage so that would not happen!  I was reminded of this story I found last year for our Home school group from Suzanne Downs Website ( exact link couldn’t find today).  This tale kind of saved the day… and it all ended perfectly…

Here is Suzanne Tale 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.

Snip, snap, snout, this tale is all told out.

IMG_8367Our tale ended almost as sweetly… Our Bunny , after his long trip around the world telling of Springs coming got a bit lost on his way home, but luckily just before dark he hopped past a man on the road.  “Are you lost little Bunny” the man asked.  ” Indeed” said the little bunny.  “Well I know where you live, your family must be worried about you, I will take you home” The kind man scooped up the Bunny, cradled him in his arms and walked the bunny to the little house down the road where the three children lived.  He knocked at the door and the children came running out in their pajamas, for it was just before bed, and the kind man said, “I think I have found something of yours!”  The children cheered and hugged the Bunny and the man!  “He must have been out spreading the word that Spring is here”, smiled their mother and everyone went to bed happy that night and grateful Spring was here!

 

 

St. Patty’s Day Peas and Potatoes

They say that Peas and Potatoes should be planted by St. Patty’s Day, which is today!  If you haven’t planted them already- go for it!  (Especially cause March is the new May around these parts!…you could have been planting peas since Valentine’s day really!)  If you have never planted either, there are a few tricks.

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Last years Pea crop planted on Valentines Day

 

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Some people pre-sprout and then transplant peas… I grow pea shoots and then mow them down and eat them as tender young things! Try them in your window sill, they are fast and delicious!

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Chittting potatoes is basically cutting seed potatoes into pieces with a few eyes each… making your potato seed go further

 

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Peas soaked in water overnight before you plant them swell them and give them a head start on sprouting in the ground.

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This weekend would also be great from planting cool season greens outside directly in the garden like Spinach, Lettuce, Mache, Cilantro, Kale, Chard, Arugula.  If you lay row cover it will keep moisture in and birds out so I highly recommend it!

Signs of Life

PaintingIt has been a long winter in more ways than one… we seem to have finally found our rhythm in it and I feel hesitant to venture out (juniper breezes scare me!!)  But we finally did and with this crazy warm weather we have spent a few consecutive days outside and are much better for it.  JumpThe world is waking up and life is buzzing everywhere!

Winter Jasmine

Winter Jasmine (Jasminium nudiflorum), always our first bloomer, followed by the over eager Apricot…Apricot Bud

Turns out my Kale and Celery are not completely dead after allCelery

and my trusty Chard weathered the winter just fine and is ready for a pick.Chard

There we a few of our favorite fellows who are not buzzing as we are, so we went in to investigate.Honey CombOur beautiful bees seem to have been attacked by mice!!!  But the left heaps of gold behind!Honey #4 joel

A bit of honey should help with our allergies right?!

Honey #2

So onward we go, counting our loses and our gains and we begin again!