Blooming artichoke

Muggy & humid.   It feels like our old home state of Florida – not your typical dry So Cal weather, that’s for sure. Yet, unlike the South, where at least you get a brief respite from the humidity with a mid afternoon t-shower, we suffer without such a refreshing break (except in the upper desert areas).

We took the goats out for a walk again in the Arroyo last Thursday evening after going to our weekly knitting group. The goats have plenty of room in the animal enclosure (about 400 sq feet) and we let them out in the yard to wander.   But, I like the excuse of walking goats, since we’ve been eating a lot of good food lately – thanks to blessings of good harvests.

Jordanne wanted to try walking the goats without a leash this time to see if they would follow… and they did. When we did stop to shoot video of the trail (for an updated version of our online video brochure), the goats wanted to play (prance / dance) and race. They went streaking down the path like banshees. When the goats rounded a bend in the path out of sight, I got concerned and whistled to them and called “come.” They immediately stopped, turned around and came galloping back. The image of two goats rounding a bend in the path running full speed was hilarious. They were racing each other like horses!   Soon they came to a sliding stop in cloud of dust right in front of us. It was too close to call a winner

This summer, gardening in the backyard has been a new experience.   Since we removed the “urbanite” around Thanksgiving of last year, the backyard has been transformed into a whole new garden and we are experimenting with new techniques. With the addition of several new raised beds to our already 2 dozen or so, there are new rotations/succession plantings to be implemented.

Backyard Cookout

Saturday, we joined folks across the country as theyrediscover their backyards We cooked up some soy dogs and enjoyed a good ol’-fashion “cook out” food. Sun cooked potato salad (cooked the day before in sun oven), blackberry crisp and rose petal lemonade were our contributions to this backyard feast.   Thank you all for your contributions – what a great beginning to summer!   I forgot to take pictures because I was having so much fun!   However, an acquaintance of ours took some really cute pictures of his daughter with the goats. The two young girls that came to the cookout, while not making up smoores, spent most of the time with the animals – sliding down the hay bales along with the goats. Our kids had kids to play with  – how fun!  We could hear squeals and shrieks of delight coming from behind the garage as the the animals and girls had a blast.

Sunday, Busy, Sunday

This morning, after the morning ritual of feeding the animals, picking and tidying up the yard, the guys are working on the greywater reclamation area at the back of the house. I took  a peek at Jules’ sketches that he has on a back of scrap paper of how he plans on integrating such a homemade grey water reclamation bed ( the “grey water amphitheatre” is what we dubbed it) into the area and it looks pretty neat – can’t wait to see it implemented.   How he comes up with such ideas off the top of his head is amazing.  

Recovering as much water is essential in our efforts to save water.   Once we re-roof the house over the summer, we plan on installing gutters on this old house which will capture rainfall and store in some sort of cistern.

The guys put wheels on the newsun composter so it’s easily moved. We’ll be putting kitchen scraps along with a handful of worms to help with the composting process and, in the soil around the dome, we will either plant tomatoes or nasturtiums.

Bath time

Later in the day, it was time to give the goats a good wash down just to get them used to the idea of a bath and the handling involved. They were actually well behaved until it came time to rinse them down with a hose – they each let out a few bleats but ,other than that, they were fine.

From the Garden
Harvesting apples, apricots, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries and strawberries.


Urban spots sprout veggies {Globe and Mail.com}

Project has neighbourhood green spaces turned into affordable ‘edible’ landscapes.
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Air Conditioning: Our Cross to Bear {Alternet.org}

Those air conditioners that keep things cool and comfortable inside are helping make the outside world even nastier.
Before air-conditioning, American life followed seasonal cycles determined by weather. Workers’ productivity declined in direct proportion to the heat and humidity outside — on the hottest days employees left work early and businesses shut their doors. Stores and theaters also closed down, unable to comfortably accommodate large groups of people in stifling interiors. Cities emptied in summers … Houses and office buildings were designed to enhance natural cooling, and people spent summer days and evenings on porches or fire escapes. They cooled off by getting wet — opening up fire hydrants, going to the beach or diving into swimming holes.
…Have Americans just gotten soft, no longer willing to tolerate temperatures or humidities outside a narrow range?

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Earth warmest in at least 400 years, panel finds {Msnbc.com}

Weighing in on the highest profile debate about global warming, the nation’s premier science policy body on Thursday voiced a “high level of confidence” that Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, and possibly even the last 2,000 years.
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Waiting for the lights to go out {Times UK)

We’ve taken the past 200 years of prosperity for granted. Humanity’s progress is stalling, we are facing a new era of decay, and nobody is clever enough to fix it. Is the future really that black.
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  1. James Newton says:

    We are “feeling the heat” down in Escondido as well. Since you are getting ready to re-do your roof anyway, you might want to look into Whole House Fans (we love ours), Cooling Towers, Solar Chimneys with Earth Tubes and other alternative means of air conditioning. More details at:


  2. James Newton says:

    P.S. your link to “Our Cross to Bear” goes to the “Waiting of the lights to go out” and that one goes to your home page.

  3. shelly says:

    Your site is great