Monday, June 30, 2008

Maintenance Post

Not much new to report these's hot here, but things are growing. Jon has a few flowers on the tomato and pepper plants in his experimental "bedouin tent" out back. The plants have withstood several days of strong winds and a heavy rain yesterday, so it looks like the tent saved them. Mostly, it was an experiment to see how natural windbreaks and shade might help the plants along, so we can plan where to plant trees and shrubs around the farm property accordingly.

Autodesk has given us the week off, but some of our plans fell through. So, just hanging around the homestead, maybe a road trip or two. It's kinda nice not having any plans.

Happy 4th!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Feedback on Jon's Article - Good Stuff

We had a call with the publisher and editor of yesterday. They're promoting the site to other syndicated web sites and online magazines, so Jon's article will get even more coverage!

Because of this broadcast coverage, Jon's inaugural article spurred some interesting feedback. Check out the discussion threads below. We especially relish the comments on

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bon Voyage, Les Amis!

Our friends Mark and Tara from Colorado left yesterday after staying with us over the weekend en route to France (with a stop in Dallas) for their new lives in Samoens. Our mutual friend Daphne also came to stay with us from San Francisco to see them off. Everyone added so much life to our home, including Mark and Tara's dog Kai. It's especially quiet and empty today as Jon and I return to our daily lives.

Their visit was serious quality time full of cooking together, reading and commenting on gossip magazines (balanced with discussions over serious issues in The Commonwealth Club magazine), playing Table Topics, running away from killer mosquitos on a flooded Rio Grande river trail in 100-degree heat, and generally relaxing, laughing, and hanging out.

Bon voyage Mark and Tara! We wish you all the best on your new adventure, and we WILL come to visit you as soon as we can....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We're published! And we're hipsters!

Today marks the inaugural article in a many-part series that Jon is writing for Matter John Gartner, a good friend of Val's from San Francisco (who now lives in Portland, OR, with his wife Guacira and son Dylan by way of a stint on the East Coast) is the site's publisher and took an interest in our blog, so he proposed that we write for his new web site about sustainability for the everyman. If you've never visited the site, it's chock full of great articles and practical information without greenwashing you to death.

I find it funny that the editor chose to call us "hipsters". No offense to Jon, but we must be the nerdiest hipsters I've ever seen. When I hear that word, I think of Posh and Becks, or 20-somethings droning about like zombies with their jeans halfway down their bootys and their iPod headphones permanently connected to their ears. But, it's kind of a cool label to carry. It's way better than "Gen Ex-ers" or "farm geeks".

Thanks for publishing the story of our lives, John G!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Vegas, Mama!

Spent the weekend in Vegas with Mom for our somewhat-annual mother/daughter trip (we've missed the past couple years). While we had a fantastic time (great food! won $100 in 5 minutes at the blackjack table!) I think I've seen enough of Vegas for a lifetime.

When we arrived Thursday night, we had our first dinner at Benihana. Mom loves to sit at the teppanyaki table and enjoy the chef doing his thing. Yummy cocktails too--I had a cucumber cocktail made with sake. Sooooo refreshing....

We spent most of our time on the Strip as we stayed at a Hilton behind the Flamingo, a Las Vegas hotel rich in dramatic history (the infamous mobster Bugsy was one of its founders). Our hotel was in a great location--completely central to the Strip, right on a monorail stop, clean, decent service, and not expensive. The Flamingo is somewhat of a stone's throw from the Paris hotel and casino, where we had our favorite breakfast of fresh pastries and coffee, Parisian style. And our hotel had a nice, quiet patio area engulfed with palm trees and other lush foliage to enjoy a glass of wine in the evening or coffee in the morning. Perfect pace for me and mum.

We did, however, spend a day in downtown Las Vegas, which was surprisingly great. It has such a retro-Ocean's Eleven feel (the original, with Sinatra & co.). Mom likes to feed the slots more than I do, so I either played the blackjack tables or wandered around with my camera waiting for her. Downtown generally has lower-limit tables than the Strip, so it's easier to sit and enjoy a longer, less-devastating round of blackjack. We also stumbled into Triple George Grill on 3rd street, a great restaurant/bar that had a phenomenal wine list and fresh kumamoto oysters--my favorite. It was a welcome light lunch before we headed off to Rosemary's Restaurant eons away from the strip later that evening for what may have been the most amazing meal (and service) I've ever had.

There was a vintage car show going on downtown, with the most gorgeous classic cars on display. I'm not a huge car fan, but it was fun to see all the different styles and the enormous effort people pour into them...

We had a great time, but it's good to be back on the farm. Seventy-two hours in Vegas is just enough to never want to see it again...until next time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Tiller Time!

Last Friday, we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary by plowing, tilling, and flooding the "back forty". Originally, we had plans to steal away and see IJ4 followed by dinner at a local French restaurant to celebrate, but hey, ya know, we're like farmers now, and Indiana Jones can wait. Field duties unexpectedly took over.
It was the only day our neighbor Lee could spare his time and his tractor to plow and till our field, and it was the first time our land had been touched in more than 12 years, so you could imagine our excitement when the plow broke ground.

When Lee finished his tractor work, our eager neighbor Richard came over with his four-wheeler and jerry-rigged an old gate to the back to drag over the ground once Jon and I had broadcasted some sweet clover seed (for ground cover, to nourish the soil in prep to plant crops next spring). Jon and Richard were like two boys with their G.I. Joe action figures--it was even fun to watch them at work.

When Richard went home, we were fortunate to have water in the acequia so Jon opened the gates to flood the field and water the seed. Now, we wait and watch....