Papercrete Greenhouse Workshop

This Saturday, May 5th, we’re putting on a papercrete greenhouse building workshop In conjunction with Homegrown New Mexico.  If you’re thinking paper whodiewaha?  Check out these posts on papercrete where I go over what it is, how to make papercrete blocks and how to make your own papercrete mixer.

The greenhouse has been a work in progress for the past three four years.  Every year around plant starting time I’m kicking myself for not finishing it.  I’ll bet we get a bunch done this weekend though.  Hopefully the momentum will carry forward and the greenhouse will get finished this year. » » »

Spring Fever = Terracing

Every year around this time I seem to get waylaid by projects I wasn’t expecting.  This year it started innocently enough.  It was high time to deal with the north side of the yard.  We had some terraced garden beds that had always been neglected.  They had a few hardy succulents hanging on from the last owner but mostly just collected leaves.

North side bed

This bed extended almost all the way to the fence.  It was impossible to get through with a wheelbarrow. » » »

Show and Tell at Mike and Molly’s House | A Cure for my Unsightly Piles!

True confession time.  I’ve got piles.  Had them for years.  Seems like every time I get rid of one another pops up!

Molly: Are you sure you want to be sharing your condition on the internet hon?

Mike: It’s OK we’re amongst friends.

It’s not pretty but it’s also nothing to be embarrassed of either.  This week I finally found a cure for my piles and it’s all natural to boot!

Apparently Germans have problems with piles too because this is a German technique called hugelkultur. (hoogle culture) to us Americans.  I figure if I really apply myself I could be rid of my piles for good in a couple of years.  It’s really pretty easy all you do is…

Molly: OK, really?  You’re really going to go there?

Mike: People want to know!  What if they have piles they need to get rid of? » » »

How to Make a Dirt Sifter

After putting up the post on making raised beds I realized I should probably go a little more in-depth on the dirt sifter since it’s a vital part of my gardening routine.  If your dirt is in need of as much amendment as mine you’ll be doing a fair amount of sifting too.  If not, well lucky you.

My sifter was scrapped together in an afternoon.  Even though it’s not real easy on the eye it functions quite well.  I’ve put thousands of pounds of dirt through it and it’s still holding up.

The Base

Sifter Base » » »

Homemade Coffee Burr Grinder

I’m on a quest for better coffee in our lives.  One of the victims of our austerity measures has been premium coffee.  First we stopped buying from the local shop that roasts their own beans and switched to Trader Joe’s coffee.  It was a little cheaper and a step down in quality but tolerable.

After the next set of cutbacks we switched to bulk coffee from a NM roaster that was being sold at Sam’s Club.  The price was much better but you had to buy 3 lb bags of the stuff.  The lower quality of the beans was obvious so I mixed it with some of the Trader Joe’s to help the flavor.

The next go-round I figured “What the hell? We’ve come this far down the road…” I squeezed that last bit of room out of the coffee budget and bought Sam’s Club Brand Coffee.  It’s not very good….at all.

Molly:  OK mister, I may have Scottish genes but I’ve got to drink this stuff in the morning.  Can’t we do any better?

Mike: Hey! I’m doing my best with what I have to work with.

Molly: Really? No coffee improving robots or anything??

Mike: Well, now that you mention it… » » »

Show and Tell at Mike and Molly’s House | We’ve Got Garden Fever!

“Sometimes you’re cruising along through life and you see someone else doing something so appropriate that it makes you pause and rethink things. I’m not talking about suddenly changing religions or switching from being a carnivore to a vegan but more like you just got a gentle nudge that may send you off in an unexpected direction.”- Mike

Show and Tell is a swap meet for ideas and projects where the currency is inspiration.  Every week we will kick things off with some of our favorite ideas that we just came across or highlight an idea we got from one of you! » » »

How to Build a Garden Bed in the High Desert

Growing vegetables is a big part of our spring and summer around here.  We like to grow our own food as much as we can.  Once you start you get spoiled.  The produce in the grocery store, while it looks good, pales in comparison when it comes to flavor and freshness.   We just had green beans last night from the store.  They looked great.  The taste?….Meh…..

Don’t get me started on Whole Foods Paycheck either.  You don’t really save money gardening unless you happen to shop there.  I don’t know why they have all those buttons on their cash registers since it seems that they simply take the number of items you picked out and multiply it by $20.

Back to gardening… » » »

A Little Help From our Friends

 

show and tell post

Sometimes you’re cruising along through life and you see someone else doing something so appropriate that it makes you pause and rethink things.  I’m not talking about suddenly changing religions or switching from a carnivore to a vegan but more like you just got a gentle nudge that may send you off in an unexpected direction.

A big part of what Molly and I have been focusing on in the past couple years is really trying to shed our preconceptions of how one is supposed to live.  Exploring crazy ideas rather than shooting them down because they don’t match the templates for success that we hold them up to.  Doing our various challenges are ways we can buck our trends and pop out of some ruts we were so used to that we didn’t even see them anymore.  Embracing the uncertain because that’s where our rudders are guiding us. » » »

How to Make a Soil Blocker

It’s seed starting season.  Yea!!

You can start seeds in any variety of containers.  People use everything from empty egg shells to the plastic six packs last years plants came in to just about any container laying around.  There comes a point at the beginning of the season when you have a lot of plants going and containers can get scarce.  Imagine if you didn’t have to deal with storing mounds of little plastic pots and just did without containers all together!  Well you can and the answer to your prayers is the soil blocker.  It compresses soil into…well…blocks.

Now you can buy a soil block maker.  They cost about 30 bucks from Johnny’s seeds but what’s the fun in that?   I decided to make my own.
You can too .
It’s not that hard. » » »

Homemade Sausage Stuffer

sausage and stuffer

Making sausage is easy and delicious.  Making it yourself comes with all the advantages of any homemade food.  You know what’s going in to it (what do you think goes into industrial sausage?) and you can adjust the flavors to your taste.  It’s also relatively inexpensive even with high quality ingredients.  All you need to make sausage is meat, fat, spices and a knife.  That’s all anyone needed for centuries.  Everything else makes it more convenient but isn’t necessary.

A meat grinder will definitely make your life easier.  I use an attachment that goes on the front of our Kitchenaid mixer.  You can also get an inexpensive hand cranked one that does the job just fine. » » »