It’s another hot and humid day – yuck! Let me see now, we are going on over a week of this hot and sticky weather.

Sorry for the lack of postings lately, things have been busy as you may have guessed and besides it’s just to darn hot to sit in front of a computer.

In the garden

It’s pretty amazing that we are still harvesting salad greens from the garden and we are in July! A whole new crop of greens are carpeting the beds underneath the peppers and other summer crops.   With all the projects going on in Spring, we were a few weeks behind in planting some of the summer crops, so we eagerly await the first harvest.

Having worked occasionally at a local English tea shop, we gals are hoping this summer to throw an outdoor tea party with few girl friends. Can’t wait till the tomatoes and cucumbers are ready (yeah ,we are a bit late this year since we planted a bit late due to having taken out the concrete and all the work that went into that job). Have to make my cucumber cream cheese and tomato basil sandwiches… and it would be fun to dress up for a day in a “posh frock.”

The fruit drop this year on the avocado has been exceptionally heavier due to the extreme flux of temperatures that we experienced over the last month.

Wild things

We spotted a few butterflies and all sorts of birds ( Black headed Phoebe, warblers, and even some swallows) in the yard this week. Bees of all kinds (wild, blue, mason, carpenter, and bumbles) are out in full force as summer flowers come into bloom. A few year’s back, our garden was certified with the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat program    The garden, besides providing us with a tranquil sanctuary from the glaring concrete and en mass, also provides food, shelter and peaceful place for the wildlife that is vital to the natural balance of a garden.

A friend of ours, who already has over 15 ducks (because they saw ours and wanted some ducks too), bought some more this year.   I think they are addicted to ducks! Anyhow, they are saying that the probably won’t be keeping all of them. So it may mean that we’ll be tempted to bring a few home. We’d love to expand our duck flock with either one or two, but that would require us the rebuild the duck house and with all that’s on our plate right now, we aren’t quite sure if it would be fair for us (and the ducklings) at this point.    We still have hopes of hatching some bantam chickens before the year’s out.

Powering down

With global warming a hot topic in the press worldwide and with recent articles about the addiction to AC – can we acclimated humans imagine life without this unnatural cooling device or how about living without another modern convenience– a refrigerator?  

Fortunately for us, we’ve had practice.   Jules has lived (and we’ve grown up) without AC since leaving college (late 60s). And for about three years (in the mid 90s) we even lived without a refrigerator – yep, no fridge. Life without a fridge is possible – not easy, but possible. Thankfully, this old house was built prior to all these modern “conveniences” and we are able to live comfortably throughout the summer, thanks to our high ceilings, attic, cellar and many windows.    In the kitchen there’s an old time vegetable cooler which was a useful commodity to homes in 1917 in the pre-fridge era.

Am I repeating myself? Perhaps you already knew that from one of the2005 post


Air Conditioned America {}This is Part II of a two-part series on how air-conditioning has changed American society.

Air conditioning transformed 20th-century America. A defining technology of modern times, mechanical cooling has launched new forms of architecture and altered the ways Americans live, work, and play. From suburban tract houses to glass skyscrapers, indoor entertainment centers, high-tech manufacturers’ clean rooms, and pressurized modules for space exploration, many of the nation’s modern structures and products would not exist without the invention of air conditioning. The technology of “engineered air” has changed our relationship with nature itself by creating indoor artificial climates, shifting seasonal patterns of work and play, and making America’s geographic differences environmentally insignificant.
…Air conditioning hastened the elimination of porches and ushered in large picture windows and sliding glass doors. Refrigeration remade the kitchen and dining room with deep freezers and frozen foods. These new postwar homes could be built anywhere across the country. The engine of air conditioning helped fuel the explosive postwar growth of Sunbelt cities like Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Miami. Today, the goal mechanical engineers set for themselves a century ago–to create “man-made weather”– has been successfully achieved.
…Before air conditioning cotton threads broke, cigarette machines jammed, bread grew mold, film attracted dust, pasta lost its shape, and chocolate turned gray when temperatures and humidity fluctuated. By filtering air and stabilizing temperature and humidity, mechanical systems improved the environment for products as well as workers. The technology of air conditioning developed concurrently with the invention of more sophisticated products that required increasingly precise temperature, humidity, and filtration controls. Today many consumer products such as computer chips and CDs must be manufactured in “clean rooms,” which provide a pristine dust-free environment
read more

America’s Air-Conditioned Nightmare {}This is Part II of a two-part series on how air-conditioning has changed American society.

Only a tiny number of politicians, and no leading member of either major party, would dare put ecological limits ahead of short-term economics. Who’s going to suggest that summer be a time to back off and simply not make, sell and buy so much stuff? None will dare say that a million and a half people have no business living and working in a place like Phoenix or that Miami has grown beyond supportable limits. And the ecological damage done by that refusal to slow the wheels of commerce is irreversible …Air-conditioning helps numb us to the prospect of ecological breakdown on a planetary scale as well. It’s more tempting to think of global warming as a problem that only people in sweltering Bangladesh will have to deal with when we view their flood-prone plight from a seat in a cool living room or movie theater…..If air-conditioning could be banned by the United States in wartime and then be declared a necessity in a time of abundance, we need not regard it as inevitable today. In an era when air-conditioning systems are proliferating, heating up the planet and chilling the social and political climate, their most important feature has become the “off” switch.
read more

Maybe if we felt “the heat” more we’d “do something about the kitchen.”
Speaking of living without (a good thing!) we’ve never owned a dishwasher, microwave or used a clothes dryer. Instead, we use the most efficient drying system there is — a clothesline.

And we probably could live without a refrigerator again if we didn’t have our produce business. It’s a great feeling to know that you can survive without things people tell you that you need to live.   This knowledge is power.

One step forward

The biggest proactive change for us this summer (yet) has been the revamped solar shower. We are going on 4 weeks without using the tub – that means NOT using the gas water heater and saving on watering the plants since all the shower water soaks into the surrounding soil watering an assortment of edibles fruit trees.


Have you hugged your composter today?

Our newest, latest composter is the most labor saving effective one available.   If you have green waste, put it in one of these composters and, within a few hours, you get rich fertilizer to put into the garden – no layering, no turning, no waiting for months. Get immediate results with this POCS – “pet organic compost system.” And what are these pets, you ask – they are our “citified farm animals” – goats, chickens, bunny and ducks.   

We had a lady stop by to do some filming for a documentary on biodiesel and sustainable living. She asked, “Why do you have the goats?” Simple, they are an easy way to turn green waste into rich compost in a matter of hours. She thought the concept was brilliant/novel, when in fact it’s the most simple, oldest form of composting.    When such simple solutions are looked at as innovative and cutting edge, you then realize how far we’ve come in being disconnected with the basic natural ways.

Happy Interdependence Day!

“Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency….”~ Gandhi ~

No Comments

  1. Wildside says:

    “When such simple solutions are looked at as innovative and cutting edge, you then realize how far we’ve come in being disconnected with the basic natural ways.”

    Amen to that!

  2. Scott Holtzman says:

    Really appreciated the information as well as the quote, something to consider when one chooses to “go it alone”.