Tuesday, 25 February 2014


A recent trip to Arizona illustrated the need for us ALL to be thinking about water.  It was an educational experience to be in an arid climate (in total contrast from the cold climate where I currently live and the temperate coastal climate that I grew up in).  Regardless of the climate that we live in, we ALL need water and we ALL need to place water conservation and water capture at the top of our priority list.  

The Hoover Dam is a spectacular piece of engineering but I was extremely distracted by the low water level.  Although it's hard to tell in the pictures, if you look closely, you'll see the horizontal demarkation (where light and dark meet) on the far rock face.   That line marks where the water level SHOULD be.   Apparently, the water level has never been so low which has everybody quite concerned (and rightly so).  

 You can just make out the high water line on the actual dam wall.  Although it's hard to tell in the photo, the dam is MASSIVE, so we're talking about a MAJOR water shortage/drought.  

Everywhere I travelled through Arizona, I saw infrastructure (washes) designed to get rid of water as fast as possible.  When the rain comes to this arid climate, it comes fast and furious as torrential downpours (usually in August).  I can imagine there are huge challenges when the water does finally come - the force and erosive power behind the flow must be potentially catastrophic.  Because everything is so dry from a year without much/any rainfall, very little of the rain water is absorbed ~ it mostly washes away taking sand, soil and rock with it. 

In my (ongoing) study of permaculture, the need for capturing/slowing water as top priority taught me a great deal.  I have much to learn on this humbling topic but as a start, we are diligently working on finishing touches to the water plan for our own property.    Some methods involve active catchment with rain water stored in tanks, but the majority of the rain that falls on our land will be passively directed through earthworks (swales and mulch basins) and ultimately be stored in the soil and in ponds.  All of these methods should work together to slow the flow of water through the site, allowing it to sink in and nurture trees, plants, wildlife and soil critters (which in turn nurtures us).  It's a humble beginning, but it's a start.

Of great help to me are several resources:


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A great tool for sourcing locally grown food

Wanted to pass on a fantastic initiative called Ripe Near Me.    It's a brilliant (global) network that connects local food to local eaters and best of all it's free!    Find what's growing for purchase (or giveaway) in your area (in farmer's fields AND in backyards).   Also, arrange to swap what you have growing in excess for what you are lacking in. A win, win all around!

The clever initiative began in Australia, but it IS global.  That said, it's in the infancy stage and in order for it to succeed, we need to spread the word and register!    There's nobody listed in my area yet but I'm registering anyway to try and get the ball rolling here.  If we all register, Ripe Near Me will grow faster and be of useful service for everybody.   I have chatted with several acquaintances in Australia who have made good use of this service and they are thrilled with the program.  Help promote this brilliant, grass roots, people powered initiative and put local food on YOUR table this season!

Check out the Ripe Near Me Blog for current news or go to the site by clicking HERE.

* Note - I do not receive any incentives for endorsing this program - I'm just a passionate local foodie who wants to spread the word!

Monday, 10 February 2014


In this time of dearth, I've taken to filling every available indoor plant pot with soil and seed!  All I can see out my window is white snow and frosty ice (which makes me long for Spring).  These are green onions which will soon grace an omelette ~ BOY am I looking forward to that :)    The plant pot is my Grandma's.  She has a terrible time remembering to water plants now and she gets rather upset to see her plants die from lack of water so we've made a deal - I'll use her pots and I promise to bring her flowers now and then :)

My poor hens are really missing green forage (as much as I'm missing garden greens!).  They do have kitchen scraps to supplement their organic feed plus I soak/ferment grain for them every few days, but I thought they might like a wheatgrass treat (they do).  Topped with some juicy worms from our worm farm, it's a veritable buffet of goodness in the middle of February for our "girls".

To combat the chilly, winter doldrums, I've been drinking an awful lot of hot lemon, honey, ginger tea lately.  With a dash of cayenne, it warms me from the inside out.