Monday, November 24, 2014

Garlic, Snug in the Ground

The wind may be howling outdoors, but we rest easy knowing our garlic is in the ground, the kale and chard are covered and the garden chores are mostly complete. (Not to mention a stocked root cellar and freezers and plenty of wood for the woodstove. We won't starve or freeze this winter!)

We saved our own garlic seed this year from seed previously purchased from Seed Savers Exchange. It's so cool to have a closed loop on several of our crops. Garlic in Ohio does best when tucked in to the soil by mid-Nov. or so then covered with a heavy mulch.

It looks as though nothing is happening here yet, but we know those little bulbs are starting to send down roots and if the temperatures don't plummet too far too quickly, we may see some green shoots before the deep winter freeze.

Just thinking of growing roots makes our hearts a little warmer! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We hope you enjoy great company, delicious food and some time outdoors.

With hearts full of gratitude for this one and amazing life, the common milkweed duo - J&S

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Insulating Fun

We spent a day this past weekend insulating a portion of our old farm house with no insulation and adding more to our attic. It was quite a project but it seems like our house is warmer already!

The blower worked pretty well. It certainly had enough power...maybe too much at times, but what matters is that our house now wears a nice hat! We wish these standard stick built homes were much more efficient (think Earthship), but we are making the best of what we've got.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First Big Snow 2014

3-4 inches of snow so far with more falling! It's incredibly beautiful outdoors. The chickens find the snow mystifying so there's no venturing out on their part. Here's the gals just a few weeks ago L to R: Emmylou, Anna Lee, & L.G.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sacramento Mountains, NM: Part 2

One thing we loved about the Sacramento mountains is the availability of water. Pack weight increases dramatically without access to consistent water, which means less miles covered and more energy going to just carrying a pack and not walking. Not fun! These mountains offer fairly consistent springs that allowed us to carry the water we needed and filter when we ran out. Perfect.

The Crest Trail offered moderate elevation loss and gain and spectacular views.

We saw many blooming wildflowers including Indian Paintbrush:

and this cute Harebell.

Mule deer or elk? We've not checked our track book, but this is a good sized track!

The clouds swept over us many times before the rain system moved on offering us a new and quiet contemplation of the mountains.


We adore the orange color of this mustard.

Nogal Peak in the distance, which we hike up on another day.

Little cacti greeted us with every step on certain rocky outcroppings. Cuties!

There is just something about wilderness and the physical act of hiking that pleases our souls.

The geology contributes to the moisture and leaves us cool finds like this:

Bright sunshine, we love you.

Mountain peaks and montane grasslands, we love you too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sacramento Mountains, NM Part 1

Wow, it's November! We've not written for a while because we took a trip to New Mexico to celebrate with our friends in their marriage and it always seems to take a while to get back in the swing of things on the home front. We so enjoyed our time with our friends and feel so lucky to know them!

All their incredible handmade decorations (made by them!) made this quite a wedding and celebration to experience.

We planned for a long enough time in New Mexico that we could get into the beautiful Sacramento Mountains and explore their montane grasslands. The Sacramentos are in the southern part of the state just east of Alamogordo. We spent our first night at the Three Rivers Forest Service campground with great views and a perfect place to regroup for the days ahead in the backcountry.

Here's your two happy bloggers excited to get out into the White Mountain Wilderness. We started around 6500' and worked our way into the higher elevations via the Three Rivers trail.

Asters lined the trail - pleasing us two flower lovers.

We followed an incredibly clear trout-supporting stream up the canyon and enjoyed some nice breaks on the rocks.

Sunshine and rain visited us on our climb up and during the cool periods butterflies waited for more warmth to move off the path allowing us time to study them. This is a Milbert's Tortoiseshell.

The Sacramento Mountains are known for their montane grasslands due to the incredible moisture present in this range. Ruidoso and Cloudcroft are nearby, two popular ski spots thanks to all the white powder that falls in winter.

Colorful fall foliage greeted us at every twist and turn of the canyon.

We really felt the climb in elevation, our lungs used to our low elevation Ohio home, but we felt so happy to be back on the trail finding time for us, nature and the power of our own two feet!

We saw this little azure butterfly hunkered down waiting for some warming sun. Is this a spring azure? We were at a higher elevation allowing for its late flying time, but still - into late October? According to Glassberg's Butterfly Through Binoculars, The West, Summer azures don't occur as far west as the Sacramentos. Hmmm.

Clear water cascading over bedrock:

Intriguing wildflowers:

Rain fell more heavily midday so we took a break under some pondersosa pines and waited it out. Thanks to Ray Jardine's Trail Life: Lightweight Backpacking book, we've taken to backpacking with umbrellas and we are fans. We still have weight to shave off from our packs, but we are getting there!

We used the Three Rivers trail to hike us about 6 miles up to the Crest Trail, which we explored over the next few days. At the end of this challenging hike up with inclement weather, we were grateful for the peaks rising around us....

The aspens we passed on the way up...

and a campspot available at just the right moment so we could eat, get warmed up and snuggle into our tent before the skies opened up and poured rain for most of the night.