Monday, December 28, 2009


  • Built compost bin
  • Dug trenches and laid down irrigation for raised beds
  • Built raised beds
Somewhere between 1/2009 and 4/2009
  • Used Dad-made cold frame to propagate vegetable seeds
  • Planted said seedlings outside, watched them die
  • Tried a second run of seeds, watched them die also
  • Fertilized raised beds with chicken manure
  • Replanted mature plants
  • New plants flourished and then withered in the summer heat
  • Replanted wimpy meyer lemon tree into pot
  • Planted asparagus ferns in hanging baskets in carport (very pretty to look at!)
  • Got sick of looking at wimpy plants and yanked them out
  • Harvested 1 eggplant about the size of my hand and 2 cherry tomatoes
  • Set up the chicken coop and welcomed the 4 lovely ladies
  • Started a polyculture lettuce garden in the raised beds, seedlings grew magnificently
  • Planted garlic and onion
  • Lettuce seedlings still seedlings
  • Planted grapes, collard greens, strawberries, and kale in the front yard
  • Replanted ornamental grasses near sidewalk
  • Moved meyer lemon and other mysterious citrus inside
  • Added compost to all potted plants
  • Declared war on the nasty little foam bugs laying eggs on my rosemary.
  • Chickens started laying
  • Chickens decimated lettuce seedling garden in three days (I was okay with this since there was nothing happening)
  • Picked up pavers in backyard to build a fire pit. (Still working on this one...)
So, to recap, I planted vegetables 3 times this year and to no avail. The third crop was the most bountiful, but sadly succumbed to Southern Nevada summer time heat and squash bugs (where did they come from?). The greatest success in my garden has been the addition of the lovely egg laying ladies.
I have so many plans and ideas for the yard this year. I'd like to finish building the fire pit/clay oven so I can cook outside during the summer (Using the oven in 115 degree weather is hell on wheels), build an outdoor turtle pond for Tortuga, replace the ornamental trees in the chicken run with fruit trees, turn my barren rock yard in the front into something edible, successfully grow some damn vegetables, plant a three sisters garden, keep a worm composter, grow a pole bean teepee....and so on.
Next year, I want to be better about keeping a plant journal so that I can keep better track of dates and such. I also plan on doing a lot of research before the planting season begins so I know what to plant. Yes, it is possible to grow food in the desert, you just have to plant the right things. So far, I've tossed all logic to the side and planted whatever I wanted. You can see how far that got me.
Here's to Oh-10!

Monday, December 7, 2009

First egg!

Sunday morning, as Lou and I are sleeping in, we hear an abnormally loud chicken squawk. Sleepily, I mumbled, "Did you hear that chicken noise?" Lou grunted.
During our morning tea, I remembered the chicken noise and brought it up again. He said he had heard it also, so we put on our coats and boots to investigate. Sure enough, under the shelf in a sweet henmade nest was a pretty little blue egg. Oh!! I was blushing with pride and joy.
I rushed it inside right away and hard boiled it. Lou prefers scrambled, but there just wasn't enough egg for scrambled. That was the fate for egg number 2, which we found today.

And then I ate it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Thursday Afternoon

I carried home two 10 lb. bags of groceries from the farmer's market on Water today. My dog was attached by leash to my belt loop. It's not what I intended to do. I drove the Mustang down to the library and parked it there with my keys (the usual set and the spares) behind locked doors. Though, I didn't mind the walk. The dog and I both needed it. I would have bought less groceries if I had known. Anyway, it was good for me. I decided to eat the strawberries as I walked because they were getting bruised. Sooo good.
Before I left, I was cleaning out the turtle pond to bring Tortuga inside. Lou had a crazy dream about the turtle being in pain. It made me realize I was slacking. I watered the compost bed and carport plants with turtle water. It had bits of almost frozen sardine that Tortuga had not eaten. I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing? I remember that Squanto taught the Pilgrims to put fish in the soil when planting the three sisters.

Yesterday when I got home from work, I spent some quality time with the ladies. I looked in the coop and saw the nest box with a fresh pile of long green grass (a little valentine). I put the cement brown egg in because my German grandma told me they need a reminder. I'll try anything because I haven't seen an egg yet. Though it's been nice because they have been a lot more comfortable around me enough to be a little bossy. I fucking love chickens.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dinosaurs in my backyard

Sharp beaks and flat, red eyes greet me in the morning. Their gaze is so fierce and unrelenting. So far, they have not felt generous enough to produce beautiful blue and green eggs for Mr. Mendez and I to enjoy for big breakfast. Soon enough.
This idea of sustainability and self-sufficiency is quite appealing to me. It's such a bitch that the "green" movement has been taken over by profiteering morons. I get a lot of stupid responses from people when they learn that I am mostly vegetarian and have chickens. Sounds contradicting, I know. I think the number one stupid response I received to the vegetarian bit was at class the other night. I'm eating a veggie cheese steak sandwich (sans cheese) and K. asks me what kind of sandwich I'm eating. So, I say a cheese steak sandwich because I know better than to throw in the other adjective "veggie" unless I want to explain myself in detail. She probes, "What kind of meat is that? It looks like chicken." I say, "It's tofu." She curled her lip up, rolled her eyes, and scoffed. She turned to the person next to her, thinking I wasn't listening, and pointed to her canine teeth while saying, "See these? I have pointy teeth for tearing meat. I am a carnivore. I don't have flat, round teeth for vegetables." I responded with, "Just because one eats tofu does not mean they don't eat meat." when I wanted to say, "Uh, actually, we have both kinds of teeth because humans are omnivores, dumb ass. And, why interrupt my food to criticize it and give me ugly faces? Insert Shiloh's comment to Jeff in Grandma's Boy.
To clarify "mostly vegetarian", I should preface that I went totally vegan over a year and a half ago. Reading books started it and discovering new delicious foods propelled it. I understand that dietary choices are very personal and linked to the wonderful things that make us human, like family, tradition, and culture. This vegan "phase" was mostly an experiment to answer the "What do I eat?" question. My dad sees food as calories, my mom sees it as a source of pleasure in life, and my sister sees food as a power struggle. So, growing up, my experience with food was conflicting enough that the "What do I eat?" question remained unanswered. I know that this question will always beg to be re-examined (as all good questions do), but right now I feel confident in my approach that food should be a few things:
1. Real - meaning that it came from the Earth and required little scientific intervention. I am no nutritionist/botanist, but I am an eater, and from my experience as an eater I see a nasty connection between made up food and our malicious modern medical maladies, the most malicious of all, cancer.
2. Fresh - so fresh that I can see where it came from while I'm eating it.
The closer to Earth that my food is, the closer to Earth I am.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ode to My Hendo Home: Part 1

Oh Henderson...
Oh Hendo...
Before I came from Henderson, I wanted so badly to be from Henderson. I was a Las Vegas island dweller, living in track housing surrounded by scary looking cacti and sharp, pointy rocks. There were no sidewalks, no parks, only streets. Escape was in the dirt lot next to the newly built freeway. From there, I could see the whole valley spread out with even more track housing and, of course, the long seam of blinking lights
with all of their deceptive promises. Yeah sure, build a mega-urban city in the middle of the desert, we've got plenty of water (psst...rural Nevada, screw you). Come on down, drop your blue collar cash that you've saved all year for your paid vacation on our tables. That's small fry stuff. The real money that keeps the lights blinking is wagered in places like the Mansion guarded by the gilded lion. Big Money doesn't pay for bottle service, hookers, penthouses, tickets to the next attempt at Broadway on LVB, or even the damn private jet that picked their asses up in Timbuktu. Damn those distracting deceptions and false promises.
Though I've always loved the surprisingly obstinate art scene side of Las Vegas, my heart lies in Henderson. In my little yellow house, I'm on the other side of the looking glass from my former desert island. Here, the Basic B greets you with the morning sun. The air's a little clearer and the birds a little more willing to serenade. Greetings from Hendo.