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~

July 30, 2007

We lost our TV

No , not really; but we did take it out of the bedroom. We decided to try "living" without one in the bedroom. I know a lot of you may think that this is just obsurd. Not the idea that we are taking it out, but rather the fact that we had one in there in the first place. Of course a lot of you probably have one and think we are nuts for taking it out, who knows? I have been slowly trying to wean myself off the tube for a while now; I always feel like there is something I didn't get done at the end of the day, I have a lot of reading that I am trying to get through for instance. Thats not even counting the blogs that I haven't had a minute to catch up on. At any rate, I got the wife to concede for a short period to give it a go. She loves to have the noise in the room when she goes to sleep, and I guess my clattering away on the keyboard isn't enough. It's been nice the last couple of nights to get into bed and get to focus on something other than the news, or some re-run, Although I will admit that I miss the documentaries. We love documentaries and all the best ones seem to come on late at night, almost tempting you into insomnia. This is just one little way to try to simplify life a little. we'll see how it goes.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you have tv's in your rooms? Lurkers, you chime in too OK. You don't have to leave your name, I'm just curious as to where I stand.

July 28, 2007

Sad to say we're back.

This is where we were...I'm sad to say it, but we're back. I am of course glad to be back home, but this was a really relaxing little jaunt. This cute little red cabin is the one that we stayed in while up in the mountains. I can't say enough about this place, The accomodations were absolutely top notch! Clean and modern while not making you feel like you were just staying in a hotel that happened to be in the woods; very cabinee for lack of a better word. Bonnie and Pat were the camp hosts, and were great. They explained everything to us, showed us a couple of the other cabins that were available, let us look at the one we're gonna have for October, and told us about a couple of nice little hikes from the camp.

On Friday morning the boys and I grabbed the fishing gear, camera and a little adventurous spirit and headed out to Lyman Lake. This is little Lyman, it's neighbor. We fished a little, and got skunked, actually we fished a very little so I don't feel too bad about it. The lake was beautiful, but was surrounded by about 15 ft of thick grasses, and we couldn't really find a good spot to fish from. We were lucky on the trip to and from the lake to get to see what we counted were 7 or 8 deer. (The count differs depending on which boy you asked.) We snapped a piture of this little guy munching a late breakfast not far from the road. He was with a doe who is not in the picture. All together this trip we counted about 12-14 deer and somthing like 4 or 5 of them were bucks. Which is actually pretty darn good considering most of them were seen from the road just casually glancing around. There are definitely deer in them thar hills, I think it should be an interesting hunt this year. (Did you hear that dad!)

That afternoon we took a drive up one of the local four wheel trails and found a beautiful meadow with a pond and wild flowers.
Oh, the wild flowers, I can't leave them out. I was shocked to see that there were so many of them. This is the last weekend of July, and we haven't had a lot of rain (Although it did rain a little each night that we were there.) so I was happy to see them. I am a bit of a flower geek I guess, I could take a whole disk full of flower picture, I just love them. This is the pond and the meadow area that I was talking about. I loved the way this old trunk was slowly becoming a part of the lake. This whole area had been burned about 5 yrs ago I think (It was burned, but I'm not sure on the dates.) and everything was coming back to life. There were new trees poking up, and wildflowers flourished on the rich burn compost that was everywhere. I had to think to myself that Mother nature really does know what she's doing! On the way up and back down the canyon, we were playing dodge the sheep. One of the things that you get used to in Utah when you go up into the mountains is that there will be sheep in your way at some point. This herd (or is it a flock? Anyone, anyone?) was the biggest one I've come across yet. Whenever I see them in the mountains though, I always think about my grandfather Dan. He was a sheep herder in the Colorado Mountians when my dad was born. I always remember a picture that I have of him sitting on a big horse with his hat and chaps. That will always be my image of a cowboy! Everyone tells me how much I am like him; that he loved to have his hands in the ground, and be outdoors. I'm glad he passed those things to me.

This morning, Saturday, we cleaned up around camp and got ready to go, then took a couple hour hike up the canon to a place the Bonnie and Pat had told us about. The beaver dams. I kind of slapped two of them together here to make it easier for you to see. Really though, it does no justice to the work these guys have done. we hiked up past three dams that were all I'd say 20-30 yards across and between 5 and 8 feet high. I have seen beaver on the rivers here before, but I have never been able to see their masterpieces in person. If you are at all interested in architecture, these are a feat to behold.

We finally had to leave, and come on down into the heat again, but we did make one more quick pit stop on the way; Devils Slide. Devils slide is one of those places that you drive by a hundred times, but always say, "Eh, we'll stop next time." We stopped this time. Mind you it's a formation of differing types of limestone, so it's not gonna make it to the wonders of the world list, but hey, the kids thought it was cool and got the railroad conductor on the passing train to whistle at them, so the stop was worth it. I am glad to be back, but I can't say I'm not looking forward to our next trip there. I think I even managed to get permission to go fishing myself tomorrow. Yeah I know all you ladies reading this are laughing, I said permission.

Hope you all had a great weekend few days and I'll talk to you later.

July 26, 2007

Thought for Today

On tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning.

~Henry David Thoreau



July 25, 2007

Heading for the hills

We're heading out of the city tomorrow. We'll be spending a couple of nights with our sons in the Uinta National Forest. We found a really great deal on a cabin up there, about an hours drive from here. This is the same place that we will be staying this October during the deer hunt, so hopefully we will be able to get out and scout around a bit an get to know the area a little. My understanding is that this is truly one of the beautiful places in Utah. It is the only East-West Mountain Ranges in North America, and one of the only places in Utah that you can cmap near any sort of water, hopefully we'll have a chance to wet a line, and catch some fresh local fish!
I'll be back on Saturday evening. Have a good rest of the week all.

July 24, 2007

pruned the tomatoes

Today I got out and finally pruned my tomato plants. I have to say first, that my garden is horrifically bad this year. It is alive, and it did make it through the long vacation that we took this year; it did not do well in the long run however. While were gone there was a very early and severe heat wave. I am guessing that while the automatic watering system kept them alive, they were stunted from the start.
At any rate, I am getting tomatoes forming, and I finally got out and pruned them. I have found that when I string them up vertically and keep the superfluous growth down to a minimum, I get much better production.

Here are a couple of
before pictures.

I have found through trial and error that I get the best production, perhaps not the most production (I haven't really counted), but very good quality tomatoes when I prune them up away from the gound (My understanding is that this limits the chances of disease.) and renove the suckers. I am not a horticulturist or anything, so I only know what works for me. I define a sucker on tomatoes as the stem that forms between the main beam, and one of the leafs. If you look closely, you will see what I mean. (You probably already know.) It seems to me that in the instances that I have let these stems (suckers that is.) grow, because they may have flowers forming on them or look healthy, they rarely produce fruit consistently.

Here are a couple of after photos.

Thought for Today

July 23, 2007

Utah House

Last Thursday My family and I went on a little field trip to a place called “Utah House”. This is a home that was built by the Utah State University Extension to bring awareness and education to the community about the different types of alternative building and landscaping systems that are available. I’ve wanted to go there for some time, and was very happy with what I saw. The home is essentially a showcase, and has information available in various locations around the house. I loved the clerestory roof that they built in the home, the use of recycled building materials such as the recycled glass counters and window moldings and the solar lights that were in place in the bathrooms. (On a side note, my parents recently put one of these in their home in a room we always called “the dungeon” because it was always dark, even though it had a south facing window, due to the ugly behemoth condo that was built 15 ft away in the next lot. It made a huge difference in that room by bringing the sun in from above and I gained a great appreciation for them.) What would normally be a garage, were the house actually lived in, is a classroom where instruction on alternative building and landscaping techniques can be taught to K-12 kids as well as contractors and architects. This room was built with ICF’s and had one straw bale wall to show different possibilities. They didn’t leave a “truth window” however, and I would have loved to been able to see into the wall at least to demonstrate how the walls differ from traditional ones.

Overall, I had a great time, and would recommend it to others. Here’s a Photo Tour of the home, and on the previous link there is a lot of good information to be had.


July 22, 2007

It was a long weekend.

Oh what a weekend! I've been going non stop since Friday afternoon. This Friday was the annual trip to Lagoon (That is a local amusement park near Salt Lake City UT.) that the company I work for sponsors. Free admission dinner and a lot of fun; can't beat that huh? We stayed late and rode a ton of rides.
Saturday morning, I made good on a long time promise of mine to my boys and took them out to a bunch of construction sites to scavenge for wood so that we could build them a quarter pipe skateboard ramp that they can put in the driveway and skate on. They have gotten so good, it pleases me so much to watch them. I get to participate with them in something that is outdoors, is physically demanding and continually challenging. I get a lot of strange looks from friends and neighbors when I mention that I regularly skateboard with my kids, and especially when I say I do it in concrete bowls, but I would trade that time with the boys for anything. So at anyrate, Saturday we went to get wood and got really lucky to find enough that we spent the whole afternoon building the ramp together. You should have seen us milling about in the driveway. The boys were great helpers, and I hope I was able to pass on a lesson or two about building things.
Sunday found me a little sore from the previous days lifting and building, but after a strong cup of coffee I was again out into the garage to build something else. My wife and I went to Ikea, a couple of weekends ago and bought her, finally, a bed frame that she could be proud of. It's nothing fancy, but it is nice and we both like it. After getting it home, we learned that it did not come with the side rails. (We made another trip down to get the side rails, and lo and behold, they're out of them!) So A~ and I decided that I should just build them. It wasn't anything particularly difficult, but I wanted to make sure that I had everything square and that I measured twice and cut once if you know what I mean. A few hours later, we had a bed complete bed frame. A~ will paint it to match tomorrow and we'll be in business. I finished off the day weed whacking and mowing. I decided tonight that when we build a new house some time after our kids are grown, I will use much less lawn. Don't get me wrong, I love grass, but what a pain. It sucks up water, time and energy.
So now that the weekend is over I can go back to work tomorrow and relax. (kidding?) I hope you all had a good weekend as well. Till later.


July 18, 2007

Thought for Today

“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is...The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds.”


~ Dan Millman – author: Way of the Peaceful Warrior


I watched the movie Peaceful Warrior last night. It was well made, and worth the watch. A lot of the points in the movie are things that I believe to be absolute truths. Many of them are not pleasant to accept because they place our happiness squarely on our own shoulders rather than on things “out there”, but are truths nonetheless. I have had this book for some time but haven’t read it; I think I will have to move it up on the reading list.



July 17, 2007

Sweet Summer Rain

Tonight we were all outside doing our things. A~ was walking the dog around the yard, I was cutting some old rebar up to use in the garden and the kids were busy using my old scrap wood pile to build the deck of what they say will be their skateboard ramp. The sky began to cloud over slowly and we talked about how unusually humid it was, then drip... drip... drop, it started. Slowly at first and then more; building to a constant sprinkle. Then the skies opened and it rained for about 15 min. That's all, 15 min, maybe not even that. It was glorious. A~ and I stood under our gazebo and let it diffuse the nickle size drops into a cool mist that settled on us till we were somewhere between damp and soaked. As the rain slowed and then stopped the clouds parted just enough for the setting sun to shine through in solid beams like heaven itself was peeking in our day. I looked over to our mountains to see them seeming to stretch themselves even closer to the clouds as if they were trying to catch every last drop of the cool rain. Between them and I was a double rainbow, full in it's glory from one end of the valley to the other.
I have of course had days like this before, but I wanted to remember it, and to share it with you. A picture would have been nice, but you know sometimes words can be more powerful don't you think? If I had taken a picture that would've been it, no imagination. I hope you all had a great day as well. Till tomorrow.

Thought for Today

July 16, 2007

Hydroponics and local food

I have been mulling over the idea of starting to grow some of my food through the use of hydroponics. It’s something that I have been interested in for a long time, researching here and there, and always having an itch in the back of my head to try. The itch recently acted up again while looking through Rhonda Jeans “down-to-earth” blog entries detailing her experience with Aquaponics. (Aquaponics is essentially a hybrid form of hydroponics that, rather that using nutrient mixes to nourish the plants, utilizes the natural waste from fish farming to sustain and grow the plants. Check out her blog for more detail.) At any rate, I began thinking again hydroponics, and perhaps Aquaponics as a way to provide fresh veggies and greens throughout our very hot summers, as well as our freezing winters. Yes we get the best of both worlds here in Northern Utah. I really like the idea of Aquaponics, and I think at some point in the future it is certainly something I want to invest some time into, but for the short term, I have to consider that I have minimal funds that I can invest in this venture, as well as the fact that I and one of my boys are really the only fish eaters in the home. Another reason I am leaning more towards the traditional Hydroponics is that I can do it indoors in a relatively small area. This will allow me to better control temperature and light variations, as well as insect and disease problems. I was lucky enough to learn that there is a very good Hydroponics supply store not a half hour from my house and stopped by there to talk this weekend. The owner was an incredibly nice and very knowledgeable woman that gave me some great advice and a bunch of free hydro magazines to study in consideration of options. (Oh how I love free magazines!!) So here I am, trying to figure out to what degree I want to indulge myself in this, and how exactly I would do it if I did.

Have any of you got any experience with Hydroponics or variants there of? I would love to hear any experiences that you’ve had.


On the local foods front, I haven’t been to our local farmers market because it doesn’t begin until the last week of July; figure that one out? I have however stopped by a couple of local farmers and picked up some sweet corn and cucumbers. They were a little smallish, but they were oh so tasty. Last night we ate local corn and potatoes, and the last of my HG (home grown) salad with some cucumbers and not so local avocado. We also had some HG chard with onion and Portobello mushrooms. It was a tasty meal, and I love having the freshest stuff on the table. Wish I’d taken a picture for you, but my kids would certainly have laughed at me, they already wonder “why is dad taking pictures of raspberries?”

Till later.


July 13, 2007

Bloggers for positive global change

Having been tagged earlier by Farm Mom as a blogger for positive global change I know that I am supposed to nominate 5 other bloggers and spread the love around. My dillema is that I have little time to get out and about to a lot of other blogs, and of the one's that I do go to a couple have been tagged already; Crunchy Chicken, Rhonda at Down-to-earth, Homesteading Neophyte... But never fear I have some great blogs to share, and these guys are by no means the second stringers!

http://williamkamkwamba.typepad.com/ This is a young man in Malawi who, despite his circumstances, and challenges has educated himself and built himself a wind turbine from scrap parts and spare wood. He is powering his and his parents home and helping his villiage to become powered also. He is inspiring in his faith and optimism.
http://notsobigliving.blogspot.com/ Anne and I are a little ways off on our politics, but we both quoted Henry David Thoureau in the same week so we can't be that far off on the big stuff. :-) She's a great blogger and very thoureau, err rather thorough with her facts. Check out her utility report cards.
http://aprildphillips.blogspot.com/ I just love to read April's blog. I laugh out loud sometimes, and always love to read her accounts of fun with her family, or crashing go-carts. Her family and her living more sustainably, and putting priorities where they ought to be.
http://www.pocketfarm.com/ I love to read Liz's post about her life on her "Pocket farm." Food, farming, eating locally, and making sustainable choices are what it's all about. She is the type of person leading us to a new type of living.
http://www.deandi.com/adventure/ This was one of the first blogs that I started to read. Dean and Andi are a couple that are in love and moving together towards their goal of self sufficiency. They've had some speed bumps and have had to change some things but the reason I keep coming back is their positive outlook and obvious love for each other.

A common thread within all of these blogs is that they all focus on the positive that we have in life, and the things that can be done. This is why I gravitate to them, and why I share them here. I hope you read them, and enjoy them as I have.

Thought for Today

Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
- Kurt Vonnegut


And therein lays the root of many a problem. By compartmentalizing everything into only this or only that, how can people not argue and disagree. As long as we argue and disagree, we can be pitted against each other. As long as we a pitted against each other we can’t get together to find a solution to problems that face us all, and we are doomed to disagree into oblivion. Learn what you can from your neighbor; know what you agree on and discuss what you don’t, you may not be as far off as you think.





July 11, 2007

Garden goings on.

I've just about caught up with the gardening chores. Weeds are pulled, plants pruned and what had ripened while I was gone has been harvested. This is the latest small harvest. The basket has raspberries and yellow pear tomatoes in it, on the right is heirloom rainbow chard, and in front is a head of buttercrunch lettuce. This is most likely the last of the lettuce I will get until fall.

I have a couple of questions for my gardening readers. While I was gone, my pea plants really made quite a showing, but unfortunatly died and dried by the time I returned. I have pulled the dead plants, and have the peas that dried on the vine. My question is this, can these vine dried peas be used for anything, or are they no good? If I can rehydrate and eat them I will, but don't know how they would taste. Any help would be appreciated. The other question is what summer crops are there that are fairly heat tolerant that I can plant for a late summer crop if any? I have a large bit of open bedding now that the peas are out, and I'd like to use it for something besides weeds. Then again, maybe I'll seed it with some of the dandylions that are popping up now for some late summer salad greens? Any suggestions?

Sleeping in a cave

Well alright, not really a cave, but pretty close. The last 4 nights my family and I have been sleeping in the basement. My wife and I have been sacking out on a futon in the theatre, and my boys have been sleeping Gilligans Island style in the hammocks that we got for them in Mexico in their playroom (which is really a 5'5" finished storage area in the basement.) We wanted to do this because we have been having unseasonable warm summer weather lately and we just can't make ourselves run the AC all night. In doing this little experiment we have found a couple of things that I wasn't expecting. Our basement stays just the right temperature all night with only a fan running on low. Our perfect temperature is something like the cool nights of fall or early spring when you can have a thin quilt on and not sweat, or be cold. We've also found that without the sun shining in our bedroom window, that we can sleep really really well. Too well infact, I was almost late for work today because I was sleeping so soundly.
I don't know if we'll keep this up all summer or not, but we will most likely do it until the weather cools a bit. It will be interesting to see how or if this will affect our electricity usage this month, but I has certainly been worth it.

July 9, 2007

Local Food

I have been researching lately where I could satisfy some of our household foods with locally produced alternatives. Utah, is no California, but we do have a surprising amount of locally produced foods if you are willing to look. I have been first off trying to find a place where I could get milk and other dairy items like cheese and eggs that are not from far away since I know that these things are produced locally, but mainly because I want to try to eliminate all of the hormones that are being used, and because I want products from grass fed animals that don't need all of the antibiotics and supplements that corn fed animals do. (Read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma for more information.) I think I may have stumbled onto a local dairy that can provide milk, cheese and eggs from local cattle and chickens. I was pleasantly supprised to find that while the cost of milk at our local walmart is at around $3.40-$3.50 gal, I can get this much healthier alternative delivered to my door for around $3.20 gal.

Another pleasant suprise that I came across through another local dairy outfit that I checked into was that they are also selling grass fed, hormone free beef. I have been trying to eat less beef as it is, but I have just about gotten to the point of not eating meat at all unless I have either harvested it myself, (Yes I hunt. Note, I said hunt not get; that's like saying fishing not catching.) or if it comes from a healthy source preferably one that I can drop by and check out operations at.

I will let you know what we decide to do. I don't think that I have any Utah readers, at least not any that have ever commented, but in the case that I have any local lurkers, I will give the info on the options at that time in case anyone is interested.

Thought for today

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.

~ John W. Gardner

You like me... you really like me

C'mon, haven't you just always wanted to say that?!
I was tagged by "Farm mom at children in the corn" with the honor of a Bloggers for Positive Global Change Award much to my surprise. The award originated with Climate of our future, and is to recognize blogs that are trying to make the world a better place for all of us. Thanks so much for the kudos! I don't really know what to say to this. I started blogging with no intent to even go down this path, and yet here I am. I get so much enjoyment out of sharing the journey with so many of you, learning and sharing from each other. I will certainly have to give some thought to whom my tagees will be and may go back and seek out some of the other links before me. Thanks again to Farm mom, and to all of you that drop in and put up with me!

July 8, 2007

So Sorry

I'm so sorry for not being on top of my blog recently. I got back and had a lot of catching up to do around the house. For the many of you that have shown concern for my garden rest easy, It made it! My lettuce bolted like mad, and my peppers are a bit parched, but all in all, I couldn't have asked for more. As a matter of fact, some things did better than others; my weeds went nuts (Of course it didn't help that I have a yard full of weeds next door at the construction site.), and my raspberries did great. I thought for sure that they would all be dead and dried by the time I got back but they weren't and I've gotten two good bowls full since I got home. A little vanilla yogurt and granola and you've got a real treat.

Another change is that my office, which blocks a lot of the internet has now blocked all blogger.com sites. so I have no way of posting during the day other than through emailing. This does work but my formatting is a little lacking. I need to change my schedule of posting, but I'll get it together. Again, I'm sorry for being so behind. bear with me.

July 2, 2007

We're back!!

We made it, we're back. no major issues, no problems to speak of. It was a great vacation, certainly one for the record books! best part is that we took time to make sure the house was clean before we left, so we came home to a nice clean and very hot house. No A/C in the house for nearly 3 weeks and it was hot in here. I took a shower when I got in and the towels from the closet felt literally like I had just taken them out of the dryer. I have to say that I think we were all ready to get back to the house. Vacations are a great thing, and I have to say that I consider myself truly blessed to be able to leave work for 13 work days and 20 days total, but at some point you just get tired of hotels, road food and driving driving driving. I haven't yet checked the total mileage, but I suspect that we logged nearly 2000 miles on this journey. I plan to optimize a bunch of the photos that I took and will share them with you as I get them done.