Welcome

Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

September 30, 2007

First Snow and Flooring update.

So I was out in the garage making a cut on a piece of board for the flooring; the garage door was open half way and I remember thinking "Hmm, if I didn't know better, I'd say it feels like snow's coming." Then I went inside and started putting the boards down. I told A~ what I thought and she said she didn't think so, but the news said they may get some on the benches (that's what they call the area at the base of the mountains.) It wasn't five minutes later that I looked out the back door and saw this. It doesn't look like much, but if you click on it you'll see it was definitely snow. Big fluffy, wet, snow. I was right.. Ha Ha! Anyway, I went out again during a break in the storm and covered the garden. I love this time of year. Growing up in California I didn't really get to experience the whole season changing thing and I love it. The weather cools, the leaves start to change and the world starts to slow down after a long fast summer. You know I never really got the whole lazy days of summer saying, it always seems that there's so many things to do.
Which brings me to the second half of this post; the floor. I'm almost there, this weekend we got the biggest room of the project finished, YESSS! Just three small steps, and on to the finishing. Speaking of which, I'm sad to say that I think we're going to go ahead and use the polyurethane after all. With our family, and our budget, it just seems to be the right product. I hope you've all had a great weekend, and I'll talk to you all again soon!
P~

September 28, 2007

Compost Day

Well it's that time again. Compost Day!!!

The last time I screened out my compost and collected it was on August 8th. Today is (or was) the 27th of September. That's 7 weeks and 2 days. This was even faster than the 2 1/2 months for the last batch. I can only assume that it was due to the new container, the metal one, that holds in the moisture and the heat better. You can see by the black gold in my hand that this batch was much more moist than the last. Strangely, I didn't water it nearly as often as I had in the past and I also had quite a bit more in the metal barrel that I did in the first model that was plastic. After screening it I finished up filling one of the 20 o 30 gallon totes (I don't remember the actual size but it is in the background in the movie clip below.) and having enough left to fertilize the winter greens. I was wondering, anyone of you have any suggestions on whether I should add the compost to the garden and let it sit there over the winter, or should I bag and save it until the spring?
I built myself a new peice of composting equipment today that I thougt I'd share with you. It's a screening basket, or at least that's what I'm calling it. I picked up some 2x2 rabbit wire from the ranch store this afternoon. (That's rabbit wire with a 1/2 inch spaceing between the wires, or 4 holes per sq. inch.) I attached it to some left over oak strip from the flooring project, you will probably see a lot of this in the future, and bent in the ends to make it a basket. My 12 yr old and I then scooped out about a half basketful of compost and shook the heck out of it to screen out some of the big clumps, sticks and incomplete items. I took another movie of it to show what we looked like to the neighbors, oh yeah and show you how well it worked.

video

So what do you think? I've already got the metal barrel nearly filled with the stuff that I'd started collecting while this was cooking. We'll see, maybe I can get one more batch done before it's too cold. I can try!

P!

September 26, 2007

Weed and Feed

Yes my garden is still organic; I didn't cave and break out with the ORTHO. I did do a little weeding tonight with my 10 and 12 yr old sons however, after learning a little about what I had growing wild in the garden.
I have to preface this by explaining that I was checking out a new blog yesterday, Red State Green where the author was talking about making soup for the local food challenge with chicken and purslane. I wasn't familiar with this ingredient so of course I googled it. Turns out that purslane is a very common vegetable plant that I just came in contact the other night while out in the garden, pulling it as a weed from my mulch path.
I'm a firm believer that we live in a wonderful world that is filled with opportunities to explore even in our own backyards, so of course I had to take this opportunity to try something new. (This isn't something new to our house as I have brought home wild asparagus and dandelion greens in the past. )My sons and I went out to the pumpkin patch, Which I may add has only one pumpkin in it, and weeded out a good bit of wild purslane. It's an odd plant, low growing and of very similar texture to a succulent. I washed it and tried a taste of the raw plant. It was very mild, slightly sweet and not bitter at all.
I decided to try the bulk of it as I might tend to have it with a meal in order to really get a feeling of how it might fit into a diet. I sauted it for a few minutes, maybe 5, with some butter and garlic and gave it a try. Very tasty. My 12 yr old C~ loved it. It was more substantial than a traditional greens dish like chard or spinich, but somewhat similar in taste.
I encourage you to take a second look at what's in your yard that maybe you didn't put there. It's been said that there are in the neighborhood of 50,000 edible plants known to man, but that the average person only eats around 30. As always, be safe and research anything that you're going to try to consume. I have found Wildman Steve Brills web site to be one of the best that I have seen with very good pictures and information.
Bon Appetit!

September 25, 2007

Has fall fallen

Fall is peeking in on us here in the Intermountain west. These are the beautiful Wasatch Mountains and this picture was taken out one of our back windows. I can luckily say that we are built up around us already and that this view will never be blocked. I've seen lately that I've had a couple of visitors from my local area . I hope you enjoy this view too, and look forward to hearing from you in the comments section.
Last night we had our first frost warning of the year, so I had to get out the tarps and put a thin cover over the gardens to try and keep the end of the year veggies going. I sowed some cool weather crops a couple of weeks ago, a first for me, and I'm glad to say that they are coming along well.
To the left I have a bed with some collard greens, leaf lettuce, Arugula(rocket), spinich and radishes. I laid them out in pretty rough rows and they are starting to fill in nicely. I hope to have this keep me in salads for another month or so. I also planted some peas for a late season harvest.

This spring I think I got my peas in the ground a little late, because the cool weather is really making these grow so fast. I also threw down some carrots to see how they will do so late in the season. I've read that you can let them sit in the ground until after the snow has flown and they should be alright, we'll see I guess.



Do any of you have some cool end of season crops in the ground? How are they doing?

September 22, 2007

Letting nature do it's thing.

I had an epiphany of sorts a little while back. I decided this year to grow my garden organically. I used no pesticides, and I used no NPK fertilizers. In doing so I have found, besides the fact that I had great sweet tomatoes, and incredibly prolific green beans, that nature really does know what it's doing.

Every year we have a terrible struggle with bees. Actually not bees, those I like to have, wasps to be more precise. Whenever we sit outside with a drink, or have a bar-b-que, it seems that we would always get run inside from wasps hovering everywhere. This year, we haven't. This may not seem like something that would go hand in hand with organics at first blush, but I beg to differ. Follow me here. I didn't spray for insects all year, hence, didn't cause wasp casualties from it, and have seen more wasps than I have seen in the last few years. HOWEVER, I also didn't kill off every small mite and aphid and earwig either. It seems, that these are prime food for wasps and low and behold when I don't kill their food source, they leave mine alone.

I put two and two together last week when looking closely at my artichoke bushes. I have some aphid looking stem boring insect on them and the wasps are all over mingled with lady bugs.

I guess the moral of the story that a healthier yard doesn't just make us happy with having chem free flowers and veggies, but because it makes everything happy that lives in or depends on the garden.


Lesson learned.

P~

8 random things

I was tagged to give eight random facts about myself by Anandadevika the other day, oh alright let's be real here, it was amost a week ago. I had actually written what I wanted to share, but haven't even had the time to get online and post it. The posts I have been getting up have been through email. Thanks for sticking with me, AnandaDevika, I see you in my statcounter everyday and I appreciate your readership. I do have to say though I don't know that I've ever been referred to as an Eco-Blogger. Am I really? I certainly do have a lean towards that I guess. Either way I certainly won't argue with it.

Here's the rules,
1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they've been tagged.

And here's the randomness:
1. I was born in Sweden; northern Sweden actually, in a town named Ume√•. My mom is full Swedish and no, I was not an ARMY brat, my parents actually met in California. If anything I guess I’m a travel brat. My name is not actually P~, shocking I know, it’s Paul. The lack of a “c” in the spelling is the Swedish spelling of it and has haunted me for 36 yrs! If I could only count how many times have people corrected my spelling of my own name.

2. I was born on same day as my grandfather. He was my hero as a kid, and I was the only one of his Grandkids that ever really got to know him. Whenever I hear Randy Travis sing “He walked on water” I swear he wrote it about Grandpa.

3. I have four boys from 10 – 14 yrs old. Three live with me full time and one lives in Seattle with his mother (my ex). I love them all, and am continually challenged by them. It seems that no matter how badly they have broken something I am expected to be able to fix it. (I guess I set the bar a little high when I made replacement parts for a Play Station controller from a plastic coat hanger and a propane torch last year. It still works by the way, saved me $40.00 too!)

4. My wife is my soul mate. I know this is a little clich√©, I mean what am I going say, that she’s not? I really mean it though; from the moment we met I think we both knew it. We have so much in common, and what we don’t seems to balance the other out in some way. A hand and glove never fit better than we do.

5. Want to build a straw bale home. I mean I really want to build a straw bale home. I could probably be persuaded to move toward a partial straw bale and partial steel or timber frame, maybe even ICFs, but either way I want to build my own home. Not just contract it mind you, but really build it with my hands.

6. I am a conservative and green too. Yeah I know for some that seems an oxymoron, though why that is I don’t know. I’ve talked about it more HERE, so I won’t go into it too much.

7. I went to college in London after my first year in school in the states. Somehow I had good enough grades to warrant an invitation to study at the University of London on an exchange program, and with the benevolence of my parents was able to take that opportunity. I loved it and loved London. If I were to ever call a big city home, it would probably be that one. (Though I just don’t ever see me in a big city. Straw bale homes and cities…hhmmm….not so much.)

8. I served 5 yrs in the US ARMY. I needed it, and it worked. I can unabashedly say that I would not be the man that I am today if it had not been for the time that I spent in service. I learned discipline, and sacrifice. I learned that you can suffer being uncomfortable and it won’t kill you, and I learned why it is that our country is free. Thank a soldier if you see one.

Now being the rebelious spirit that I am, and being that it's 12:34 right now and I have to get up early to volunteer at the Green Homes Tour (yeah I guess I am a little bit of an eco-blogger huh?) I just don't have the time to link to a bunch of other sites, I know I'm terrible, and lazy but this one's just gonna have to die here. Have a good weekend all, I'll post more soon with some pictures of the homes from the tour.
P~

Well that about does it I guess. Now you know all about me right? As for tagging others, I only really have a few people that I can think to tag so I’ll have to limit it to 4.

September 19, 2007

Thought for today

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.

~Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881)

On that note, I’d like to take a minute to point out a new area that I’ve added to the right side menu bar. “Books I’m reading” and “Books I’ve read this year”. The lists aren’t huge but they’ll grow and they do give you an idea of what I’m filling my head with. I invite you to post me a comment any time if you have read or are planning to read any of the books and want to talk or ask about them.

P~

 

September 17, 2007

Volunteering.

I went to a meeting tonight at “The Green Building Center” of Salt Lake, I've mentioned this store before when I was talking about different floor finishing options. Next weekend they are hosting a Green Homes Tour throughout the Salt Lake Valley and Park City. The project is the brain child of Ashley Patterson, owner of the GreenBuilding Center, and will highlight a lot of the different possibilities with regard to green home building and sustainable living. The meeting I went to was for volunteers for the tour. A freind of mine and I will be volunteering at one of the locations for 3 hrs that afternoon. Green Building options and alternative energy are a couple of things that I am really very passionate about. As of right now, there is only so many things that I am able to do in my own home, but I want to help share the knowledge that I have with others and learn from them as well. I think that the whole experience will be a real blast, and of course you know there will be a full review and lots of pics when I'm done. Hope you are all doing well. Till later.
P~

You can read more here.

P.S. I saw that I was tapped by Anandadevika to share some random thoughts about myself and to tap others. The thoughts are easy enough, but I need to figure out who too tap. I'll post later with more.

September 13, 2007

Thought for Today

Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.
~ Ken Hakuta

September 11, 2007

Floor Update

Here's the latest progress on the flooring. I've been plinking here and there over the last week and a half at finishing our stairs. This is the "Grand Staircase"; it sounds better saying that than the big staircase in the front room don't ya think? Anyway, there is another smaller four stair set above this that goes to our room that is also finished. This one actually is not quite done yet; the bottom two steps are still unfinished. It has been a pretty major work to do this by myself. I knew I had the skill, but it has certainly made me dig deep for some of them. Now I see why doing it myself is saving me in the neighborhood of $6.00 sq/ft. I have also been manufacturing all of the millwork like the bullnose edging, and door treads on my own in the garage. This has taken a bit of time, but I think they came out pretty well. I hope to be finished with the stairs this week, and then prep the living room for the flooring next week. Our goal has been to finish it during the month of September all along. We should come out fairly close to that.

On a side note... Dad, thank you for teaching me the basics when I was a kid, and letting me tinker with your tools, I wouldn't have been able to do any of this with out that foundation.

P~

Remember

Today is September 11th; I hope that means something to all of us. I hope that in your heart today there is remembrance for those that lost their lives that day and prayers for the soldiers that are fighting to keep us safe. Regardless of what you think of the government or its policies, we do need to remember that time when we were all Americans first. We helped and consoled each other, we mourned together, and we pulled together. So quickly, it seems, we slide into the backbiting and bickering after a challenge like this has passed, this is our nature I guess. I suspect in some ways it is a sign of a return to normalcy. We should, however, take at least a moment today to remember and reflect; not to rekindle anger, but to reaffirm our unity and the power of our resolve. We have many challenges before us as a nation and unless we are able to act with the unity of purpose that we had six years ago, many of our challenges will be insurmountable.

My thoughts are with the families remembering their lost loved ones, and with the soldiers abroad selflessly serving their nation in whatever it asks.

P~

September 10, 2007

Taste-bud recharge

If you’ve read my blog over the last few months you’ve undoubtedly heard me talk about eating. I’ve made a lot of changes in my diet this year and have been enjoying a slimmer profile, and a lot of more natural foods. Last night I finally put my finger on another benefit that I hadn’t been expecting, yet was pleasantly surprised by. Food has taste!? I’m kidding of course, but to a certain degree I’ve been reawakened to the flavors of food. I had heard of the phenomenon of people that made drastic changes in their diet becoming more aware of the foods that they are eating, but I didn’t think that the changes that I have made were quite that significant. What am I talking about you ask; I’ve had a couple of things happen lately that I took notice of. First off, I don’t like milk. I haven’t liked milk for too many years to remember. I drink it every once and a while, remember that I don’t like it and then I’m back on the wagon so to speak. A couple of times recently I’ve drank a cup of milk unsolicited; once because I wanted to try to new local milk delivery that we’ve been getting (more to come) and another time with some cookies that my wife made. Both times I was surprised to say “Hey, that was actually pretty good?” and not because it was with cookies, but just because it was good. Early this weekend we were eating dinner of tomatoes, basil, cheese and tapenade and I was struck by how sweet the tomatoes were. I love homegrown tomatoes anyway, but these seemed almost sugary sweet. Finally last night the light came on while I was treating myself to a little 3.6 oz snacker of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I love this stuff anyway, but my wife asked me what I was doing with my eyes closed, I think she thought I was sleep-eating. In fact I was only savoring the flavors in the ice cream. It seems that since I have chosen to eat a more natural and healthier diet with much less snacking and sweets my taste buds have had a renaissance, a re-birth to the great flavors in life. Is this why certain foods became popular in the first place, because of their flavor or their ability to jolt the taste buds? What are the vast majority of us missing by giving in to treats and flavor extremes on a day to day basis? Yes, sometimes a natural diet is a bit tedious. Eating what is in season often means a lot of green beans, zucchini and cucumbers; but that tedium also allows us to enjoy the sweetness of a vine ripe tomato or cantaloupe, and the savor of a well seasoned meat. This has been a great discovery to me and one I fully intend to explore further. From time to time I might just close my eyes and enjoy the sweet creaminess of good chocolate. I’m not sleeping, just enjoying life.

September 7, 2007

Thought for today

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority.

The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority.

The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
~  AA Milne

September 5, 2007

Sometimes life is cruel

I've been making a concerted effort lately not to complain but I have to say that life is sometimes cruel. If you read this blog at all you know that we have been dealing with trying to put in hardwood floors to help with our sons asthma. This has in essence thrown our house into chaos because we have half our flooring torn up, and half the new flooring put down, only a portion of our stairs finished and none of it sealed yet. During this time, we had our cheap driving car die. So I begin driving the truck the few miles to work on the hot days when I just don't want to ride my bike. Then the Radiator hose of the Truck blows. OK I'll just ride the bike for a couple of days until I can get it fixed, no problem. I get the hose fixed, and the A/C quits working two days later. Again, oh well, I can deal with it. Another week goes by and our other cars maintenance required light goes on. Now this weekend I get news that my son from my first marriage is in a bad situation with his mom, and may need to come live with me. This is not bad news mind you, but it does bring with it it's own sets of issues.
I want to state for the record that I will not give in to life's cruel hand. This blog is about the possible and by golly it is possible to get through this too. Somehow these challenges are here to strengthen us. I don't know how, but they are. My wife and I are united and in that state we just can't be beaten. Believe me, life's tried before! When you have these moments or periods in life cling to those you love, ask for help when necessary, and above all believe and know that this too shall pass. We have all been given a wonderful gift to be able to make real that which we truly believe in, sometimes we just have to go on faith.
P~