Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anasazi Beans and Flour Tortillas

This is our yummy dinner of Anasazi beans that I bought in New Mexico. I really wish I had bought more - they are so delicious. According to the package they are a native to the Four Corner area of the U.S and was a staple of the Native American diet. They are spotted just like a Holstein cow except brown. I saved out most of a cup to try and plant. Here is how I cooked them.

1-16 oz pkg Anasazi beans (washed)
1 lg onion finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-16 oz pkg of pork pickle meat

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent, then throw everything in a crock pot (or solar oven if a sunny day- today was not), cover with water and cook all day long. Serve with warm flour tortillas. So easy, so yummy. We also spiced ours up a little after cooking with Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning. Tony's is something that is found in most New Orleans kitchens.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chicken Update

Here is one of our brown leghorn roosters. We had three, but Byron gave one to a friend at work and we kept two. So far no fighting. When we get back from our family vacation Byron is going to work on enlarging the chicken family compound :)
Here is my best friend Lu Lu. Byron claims she remembers me warming her in a shoe box on top of the stove with the oven and vent light on to save her life when she was just a chick. I have thought Lu Lu was almost every kind of chicken. Now I do believe she is an Americana. They are supposed to lay blue eggs. Anyway, Lu Lu loves me. When I come into the coop she is always at my side. When I sit on the wonderful bench Byron made me, she hops up behind me and cackles in my ear. Sometimes she gives me a few love pecks on the back and pulls my hair. This is some type of Cochin. I do believe she is looking to see if that pesky rooster she drove out is coming back.
The loofah sponge vine is covering the coop nicely and providing much needed shade for the hens. I am going to allow these to mature and save the seed. It is an heirloom variety. I also read that they are referred to as okra squash as well. If you pick them at about 8 inches long, peel, slice, batter and fry them they taste somewhat like okra. The chickens like them as well and peck at the ones they can reach. See how big the girls are! No eggs yet, but I believe we'll get some in the next few weeks.
This is Josephine the tough outdoor cat. She survived Katrina and numerous fights if you go by the tatters in her ears and her scars. She loves to walk right between my legs when I am attempting to get anywhere outside. Whenever we are in the coop, she sits outside and watches, meowing her opinion every now and then.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Supai Village

A Native American getting his horses and mules ready for a day's work hauling tourists and their stuff.
A home and an overgrown field full of wild flowers.
One of the reservations many canine residents. There are 3 to every native resident. (or so I was told)
A view of a home and a corn field from the helicopter.

Here are some pictures of the village in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. There are no cars or any roads for cars. The only way into the village is to hike in, ride in on a mule or horse, or take a helicopter in. There are several four wheelers for the rangers and electric cars for their police department. I did observe and comment to Byron on the fact that the most remote village in the United States had electricity.

Most of the residents didn't seem to be in any hurry and most were friendly. They seemed to move along just as the meandering river did- at their own pace. Byron especially didn't like the long wait for breakfast at the cafe on the morning we left. He gripped about it for a while until I poked him and told him it really didn't matter if it came now or later, we didn't have anywhere pressing to go. What a unique feeling.
There also were no shouting signs to deal with. No "buy here!" or "cheapest this!" or "loosest slots in town!", just pure simplicity. One cafe, one small general store, and one post office. They did have two churches :D.
Just as I was perched on the top of a milk crate on the edge of the road waiting for the helicopter (same as the locals) reveling in the feeling of do nothing, another tourist had to pipe up with her well meant opinion. "Someone really needs to come in here and show them there's a better way!" I assume she was referring to the small homes and lack of stuff. Give credit to me, I managed to keep my over eager mouth shut. What I was thinking was, "This is a better way." Although I'm sure their village has it's problems, they are not prisoners. If they want the traditional American life they can join it the same as you and I.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls
Mooney Falls
A view of Havasu from the top of the trail.

We did it, and we're back! We hiked to Havasu Falls. Really it's one of those things that words cannot describe. You must see it in person. The bright orange canyon walls and the aqua blue water is southwestern storybook. It's an imagined Paradise actualized.

The closest you can stay in a hotel to the Havasupai reservation is between 2 and 3 hours away. This is an indication of the remoteness of the area. After driving through miles and miles of chalky dry scrub covered land you arrive at the hilltop parking area on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Then you begin the "moderately difficult" hike into the canyon. I found the description to be accurate. Although I reveled in every minute of it, trying to absorb the tall canyon walls and rock formations.

Several miles into the hike the rock color begins to turn from chalky to a sunset orange. About 8 miles into the hike you begin to see bright green appear and you can feel the slight moisture in the air. Then suddenly you turn a corner and there is a sparkling aqua blue stream cutting its way through the bottom of the canyon. The stream continues to grow and wind its way through to Supai Village, a little further to Navajo Falls, two miles further to Havasu Falls, another two miles to Mooney Falls, then on to Beaver Falls and the Colorado River.
Supai village deserves a post of it's own. So, I'll do that later.

I had a surprise waiting for me when I got home- Garlic!!! This is the first time I have ever been successful growing garlic. Hey persistence is the key to everything!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Battle of the bugs

Tomato Hornworm


The challenge of organic gardening is the bugs and caterpillars. Ughhh!!! Stinkbugs. The battle has begun in earnest now. Currently I am dusting the tomato plants with diatomaceous earth. It is ground sea creature shells. The dust is harmless to animals and humans, but when it comes into contact with the exo-skeleton of insects it's sharp edges cut them and they essentially bleed to death. A very gruesome death for an insect. Really though you ought to see how gruesome some of my tomatoes look right now.
There's nothing to do for the hornworms except to pick them off. I heard chickens love them. My chickens aren't so sure. When I threw them into the coop, the chickens pecked around at them a little cocking their little heads side to side and peering at the curled hornworm with a beady eye. I'm sure LuLu thought, "She expects me to eat this ugly thing? Bring me some more bread or squash already!"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Potential of a Seed

This is Broccoli seed I have collected from my garden. Recently I collected at least twice that amount and now the jar is almost full. Look at all the potential. Each one of those seeds can bear broccoli to consume and enough seed for future plantings and generations. Recently United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a 50 percent increase in world food production by 2030, saying that failure to feed the world's growing population will mean civil unrest and starvation. Tiffany at her blog "Much Ado About Nothing" posted "Frankenfood" expressing her fear about genetically modified food. All the crazy things corporations such as Monsanto are doing in the name of bettering the lives of people, but are essentially done expressly for greed, are nothing less than frightening.

Such as the terminator gene. From my limited understanding, I believe it is a gene that is placed in seed that is sold that causes the seed to be unable to produce viable seed. This forces the farmer to purchase new seed yearly instead of being able to save seed as our forefathers and mothers did.

The most terrifying aspect of this to me is the smugness of humankind in their intelligence. Even if you accept their version of our existence (which I do not), how can we allow them to step out with their limited time frame of knowledge and toy with ancient existence set forth by powers beyond them. Humans tend to force square pegs in round holes. If something doesn't work the way we have previously conceived it should, we change the circumstance until it fits our own set forth "truths". For good or bad these powers of greed are going to shove a square peg into the round hole.

What if people set aside greed and embraced contentment? Timothy wrote, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." It appears to me that the majority of humans have set aside and ridiculed "Godliness" and "contentment" and have embraced "worldliness" and "greed". What if everyone quit cutting their grass, learned as much as they could about growing their own food, and transformed their large or small lawns and balconies and decks into vegetable and herb gardens. What if every landscape tree bore edible fruit? I'm sure the world would easily increase food production by over 50%. Most people can't though. They "have" to go to work.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vines That Gobble Fences

In the deep South, if you don't cut your grass for a while vines and brambles will spring up from a seemingly perfect lawn. Vines are perfect for covering ugly chain link fences or scenting the air with perfume. Here are some vines I have in my garden.
Mini red heirloom roses bloom on either side of the gate. The ugly chain link fence is covered with passion and muscadine vine. The passion vine serves as a host plant for the Gulf Fritillary butterfly. Every summer the yard is filled with so many of them it is almost surreal and ethereal. Yes, you do have to put up with some of your plants looking like they have lace leaves, but the bright red, black spiked caterpillars is enough to compensate and the butterflies are roses on the cake.
This is a variegated Pandora vine. It isn't nearly as aggressive as muscadine or passion vine, but once it got a foot hold it took off. Birds love to build their nests in this massive vine, and Camira our puppy loves to wallow out a cool hole to lie in during the day under it's shade. For scent I have planted honey suckle, Confederate Jasmine, and Maid of Orleans Jasmine around the front porch. Most of the year at least one is blooming and releasing its heavenly scent. Some other vines I have planted and found useful: Miniature roses and loofah sponge on the chicken coop, bird house gourd and morning glory on the fence, cardinal vine on the porch posts, black eyed Susan vine on the fence (which returns reliably and aggressively every year), and Carolina Jasmine on the down spout. At least twice a year in spring and fall I prune each vine back fairly severely. They all return with more vigor the next year. I believe if these vines were left to their own devices they would embrace my home in a smothering grip. Some things just love to much, so I have to love them at arms length with a pruner in hand.