Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day or Beltane

"Everywhere is the green of new growth,
The amazing sight of the renewal of the earth.
We watch the grass once again emerging from the ground.
We notice the bright green atop the dark green on the pine, the
fir, the hemlock, the spruce, the cedar.
The alder is already in leaf
The old plum trees still blossom, leaf and give forth fruit.
The locust tree is late as always.
Everywhere and always the song of birds . . . bees raiding the
     orchard, raccoon prowling at nightfall, the earthworm
     tunneling in the garden, chickens and rabbits pecking and             
     nibbling, the goats tugging to reach new delights . . . 
     all are the ubiquitous energies of life.
May we today be touched by grace, fascinated and moved by this
    [Divine] creation energized by the power of new growth at work
    in [our] world.
May we move beyond viewing this life only through a frame, but
    touch it and be touched by it,
May our bodies, our minds, our spirits, learn a new rhythm paced
    by the rhythmic pulse of the whole . . . .
May we forge a new friendship with the natural world and
    discover a new affinity for beauty, with life, and
    with the [Divine]."
                           Chinook Psalter
The heart shaped leaves of the native California morning glory,
not to be confused with the invasive European bind weed.
The first of May is known as Beltane which for thousands of years has been the day on which fertility and beauty of the flowering Earth have been celebrated. It is a cross quarter day marking the half way point between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.

When I was a child in Corwith, Iowa, we knocked on neighbors' doors and left May baskets filled with Spring flowers hanging on the door handle. We then ran away laughing.

Below are my "May Day baskets" to you . . . .

Here in Santa Fe, New Mexico there is
an abundance of lilac bushes in gloriously
full bloom.

There is a magnificent range of colors from white to pale pinkish
lavender and soft lavender  to vibrant dark purple.

As the qi of the time of Beltane supports a-wakening, may we each embrace the process and 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Finding a Different Rhythm at 6790' MuRefuge

Shasta remembers the lushness of the vegetation at MuRefuge . . . .
and the field to the South of MuRefuge teeming with wildlife
like this doe and her two fawns . . . .
Shasta recently shared through an amazing interspecies communicator that she "REALLY, REALLY, REALLY misses her old territory," aka MuRefuge. 

her big brother, Sage . . . . 
and her duck flock which is now divided into
2 flocks, the older ducks remaining at MuRefuge
and the younger 4 now live a bit to the North
with Sage.
She also shared that the air in Santa Fe is "zingy," "it's harder to breathe," and the "land feels different." All of this is true for all three of us as we deal with the altitude, which is considerably higher than MuRefuge. 

Here at 6790' MuRefuge we all are in the process of finding a different rhythm drawing from the ancient energy stored here in the mountainous soil and surroundings. The vegetation is different, the dryness in the air is different AND the people are different . . . more open and accepting of diversity.

For me the human connection, which has been difficult for me since my childhood move (the Summer after fourth grade) from Corwith to Shenandoah, Iowa, is a new and exhilarating experience  I guarded my heart thinking that was protective and here I realize the folly of that stance. The only downside I note is when I am planting in the front yard people come by and want to make a connection with a chat, thus the planting takes much longer than at MuRefuge.

So I can empathize with Shasta. She wants to BE back in rural residential MuRefuge rather than here in an urban environment where her job of guarding her territory is so much harder with the flood of people and their energy, dogs walking by and/or barking and all the noise from the traffic, not to mention the coyote that boldly trots down the street.

"We advocate takin it easy,
but always being on guard, alert to opportunity. 
 We encourage clever wisdom -- seeing the little things
that hold everything together. 
We have finely tuned senses and enjoy using them.
If you come to work with us, this level one:
learning to fine tune your sensing apparatus.

We like to work with humans who know how to laugh
and have a good time.
But we are not lazy. We love to explore and learn new things.
With an open mind,
you can see what's really present
and sniff out openings for fun and learning.
That's the Coyote way of life?
from Animal Teachings: 
Enhancing Our Lives Through the Wisdom of Animals
by Dawn Brunch
illustrations by Ola Liola

With the frustration of relocation half way across the country, Shasta has become very aggressive with other dogs. To let her know that she is safe and that we are leaders of her pack so she does not have to be, we now use a "gentle leader" when walking her. And I have created a "magic potion" just for her so she has the opportunity to be fully present here at 6790' MuRefuge.

Here she is in the Santa Fe River, no water, with the mountains in the background.

To offer her a connection with "wildlife," we walk most mornings to
Frenchy's Field which use to be a dairy farm. Now this park is for all, two leggeds and four leggeds alike, to enjoy.

Shasta on high alert for prairie dogs and rabbits, too.

It is not surprising that Shasta is unclear about her "job" with our house's location in Santa Fe.

San Felipe Circle runs along the front of our property joining
San Ildefonso Road which becomes San Felipe Avenue
and runs along the side of our property.
As we don't yet have window coverings in our home
headlights at night shine right into our living room
where Shasta can see out the window barking!

'Tis a gift to be simple,
'Tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.
And when we find ourselves in the place, just right
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight."
Shaker hymn

As we all find a different rhythm at 6790' MuRefuge, aka "the place just right," we

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

ReRooting: A Process

Snow, rain and hail, wind and pleasant weather seems to be Spring here in Santa Fe, New Mexico/Land of Enchantment. With the elevation above 6790' Spring is slowly arriving. The city has an abundance of flowering trees now sporting their blossoms. This is a stunning contrast to the deciduous trees with bare branches remaining.

Recently we enjoyed an excursion up into the mountains through Chimayo 

El Santuario de Chimayo;
19th century adobe shrine that now draws tens of
thousands of pilgrims during Holy Week.
Quite an amazing place to walk about,
which we did, feeling the love throughout the grounds and church.
For those of you that have visited the missions in
California, this is, to me, the most similar to the San Luis Rey mission
located outside Carlsbad, California.
and onto Truchas which in Spanish means "trout" and is mostly an artists' community 

where we visited Tooley's Trees owned by Margaret and Gordon Tooley.

There we purchased and brought back fruit trees to commence our "food forest" in our walled backyard (typical here in the Stamm developments of the 1950's):

Esopus Spitzenburg

fresh eatingstoring

Available as one year whip for Spring 2018
Thomas Jefferson’s favorite; dessert apple for connoisseurs. Medium to large, round conical, orangeish fruit with tough skin, russet dots and inconspicuous stripes. Crisp, fine grained, spicy, juicy, yellowish flesh. Rich, aromatic flavor. Ripens unevenly; hangs well into November. Average to good when tree ripe; radically improves in storage. Keeps until May. Tends to bear biennially. Pollinator required. Susceptible to fireblight, scab and canker. Hardy to Zone 4. Requires 800 chilling hours. Originated in Esopus, NY. Introduced in 1790.

Westfield Seek No Further

fresh eating

Available as one year whip for Spring 2018. Excellent for eating fresh and drying. Flavor intensifies as it dries. Fruit is streaked with red and russet over yellowish background. Crisp, juicy, high quality flesh. Rich, mild, pleasantly aromatic, mildly subacid, distinctive flavor. Beach rates Westfield as very good to best, a rare distinction in his Apples of New York. Average keeper. Medium to large tree. Flourishes in well-drained, gravelly or loamy soil. Ripens during October. Hardy to -50 F. with occasional winter injury. Originated in Westfield, Massachusetts. Introduced in 1790.

Hargrande Apricot 

bakingfresh eatingprocessing

RS- Myro.
Very large fruit, up to 2.5 inches diameter. Dull orange skin with a speckled blush. Firm, smooth, orange, freestone flesh. Good texture and flavor. Suitable for fresh market or processing. Productive, cold hardy tree. Tolerant to brown rot, bacterial spot and perennial canker. Ripens in late July. Zones 5-8. Developed at the Harrow Research Station, Canada, 1980.

Harogem Apricot 

bakingfresh eating

RS- Myro.
Small to medium, glossy, orange fruit with a bright red blush. Very firm, orange, freestone flesh with good texture and flavor. Excellent for fresh market. Upright tree. Consistently productive. Resistant to perennial canker and brown rot. Moderately susceptible to bacterial spot. Ripens in early August. Cold hardy. Zones 4-8. Developed at the Harrow Research Station, Canada, 1979.



Prunus Virginiana
20'-30', Zone 2. Small suckering tree or large shrub with oval crown. Flowers are white 3”-6” long racemes. The fruit is red, ripening to dark purple. The fruits can be used for making jams, jellies, sauces and wines. Good screening and wildlife habitat plant.

American Plum

fresh eatingprocessing

Prunus Americana
10'-25', Zone 3. Small graceful tree or shrub. Beautiful fall color. Fragrant, white flowers bloom profusely. 1” red and yellow fruit. Excellent food for wildlife. Good for jams and jellies. Drought tolerant, and not soil specific. Excellent pollenizer. Good choice for screening and wildlife habitat.

These above descriptions are from Tooley's Trees website.

Tooley's Trees on our back cement patio, aka portal, in Santa Fe await their forever home at 6790' MuRefuge's coming soon "Food Forest."

Both of the apricot trees that had tight blossom buds in Truchas have now burst into full flower with the warmer days here in Santa Fe.

"Contemplate in the morning
Pull weeds in the afternoon
The joys and labor of a single day
Are a part of a whole journey."
365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao

As we pull weeds or whatever activity(ies) we engage in to care for Mother Earth, may we

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Reclaimed, Restored with HarmonyArt Fabric

Santa Fe has a drove of consignment shops and thrift stores with high end furniture, kitchen wares and an assortment of other household goods. Residents whether permanent or here only part of the year seem to enjoy recycling their belongings and others seem enthralled with other's castoffs. 

Downsizing as we have from almost 1900 square feet to just under 1200 square feet has provided an opportunity to remake what we moved, shed what no longer pleases us and/or takes up too much space. Two chairs Dwight brought from his first marriage have sold at the Consignment Warehouse where two separate women were so excited to each have one.

The above chair was purchased at Barkin Attic, which is one of the two retail stores for the Espanola Humane Society, and recovered by Dori at Danny's Upholstery and Fabrics with the same HarmonyArt fabric Let It Grow that was on the two we released. This chair is so comfy that Dwight has even had a nap while enjoying the comfort of this chair.

And our four mismatched oak chairs my parents bought at an estate sale in Iowa have been refinished. EEK! the price of these chairs has skyrocketed from a mere $50 totally to well over a $1000. However, they do look fabulous! AND my thinking is that this refinishing is the last I will have done in my lifetime. The tablecloth is HarmonyArt fabric Animal Farm which I love.

Our "library" is probably the room that has shrunk the most with our downsizing but we seem to have enough space for what we really want in our library. Here is the "computer table" with chair. The computer when not in use is covered with
HarmonyArt fabric 10 Flowers as is the pillow on the chair. This is one of Harmony's most recent creations and I fell in love with the design as soon as I saw it. It does fit well with the color scheme of this cozy room.

Recent spectacular sunset as seen from our back yard looking over the wall towards the West.
As change, which is inevitable, occurs may we each embrace the opportunity that the change offers and all the while

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Equinox, March 20, 2018

This Pinon Pine adjacent to our driveway was pruned, fed
and a rock wall built by the "Professional Landscaper."
Such fortune to have my very favorite tree
already growing at our new home.

March 20, 2018, marks the point of equal daylight and night time; in other words, Spring is at her zenith ushering in a new life cycle and bringing new opportunities. Here at an elevation of 6900 feet cold nights with below freezing temperatures continue, hence the landscape still looks like it is Winter. 

Each morning now we take this walk along the Acequia Trail
which is cement and to the left side of this picture. We walk
along the dirt path depicted on the right of the above picture. 
However, the day time is glorious with sun and temperatures rising into the high 60's. To take advantage of this wonderful high desert time of the year, outside Work has begun on the garden, mostly in the enclosed backyard. 

Last week 10 cubic yards of organic compost were delivered from Payne's Soil Yard. A number of wheelbarrows full of this rich organic matter was spread beneath plants previous dug into the front yard where MUCH gravel and landscape cloth had to be moved to be able to actually reach the soil. An agave plant was brought to us from one of our gardening focused neighbors' garden,

Parry agave(Agave parryi)
a cactus was moved from the aspen tree plantings, which also are going to be dug up and a new home found, 

Does anyone know the name of this cactus?
a Desert Holly, aka Redberry Mahonia (Mahonia haematocarpa), purchased from Plants of the Southwest, 

This is a full grown Desert Holly growing along the driveway into the Plants of the Southwest.
and the Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) purchased in this past late November from Payne's Nursery 

have now been planted, fertilized with mushroom compost and earthworm castings, mulched with cardboard and compost and watered.

The front yard was landscaped by a "professional landscaper" who was also one of the sellers of this property. His idea was to bring in truckloads of gravel according to our neighbor across the street who watched the process. The plants he chose to plant are not native so one afternoon all the lavender, nonnative grasses and echinacea were dug out and place in a cardboard box with a sign
"Free Plants" and set by the street. Luckily for all, the woman from form + function came for a consult for removal of all the led lights (and fixtures) and expressed delight in taking away to plant in her garden all the dug up plants. 

Other unresistable recent purchases at Plants of the Southwest:

Santa Fe cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.) said to be endangered in Santa Fe.
The flowers are peachy rather than the usual yellow).
Curl leaf Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) is a bush seen
with its stunning seed pods along the Lundy Canyon walk towards
Mono Lake in the Eastern Sierras.
I am so delighted to find out that many of the High Desert plants
I loved in the Eastern Sierras have sisters here in the Santa Fe area!

Rubber Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseous) is ubiquitous in and around Santa Fe.
Weeds, mostly fox tails, have been dug out of the backyard and sticky seed pods have been raked up to provide a safe haven for Shasta. And the HUGE project of moving the rock that had been put in place by some previous inhabitants of this property has begun. 

Shasta with her well loved Christmas reindeer from Holistic Hound
(her inside stuffed toy outside) enjoying her new backyard
Plans are in place for three raised beds using hardware cloth and cement blocks as we did at MuRefuge.

Later this week we plan an excursion up into the mountains to Tooley's Trees in Truchas, New Mexico, to purchase fruit trees and habitat plants. It will be great to see more of "the Land of Enchantment" now that we are settled into our house.

As we all embrace Spring with open arms may we all