Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meet the Parents!

Today Brian and I paid a visit to Crowley Manor in Conifer (about 40 minutes from Denver). We met with Pat, who breeds beautiful Nigerian Dwarf goats. We're hoping to buy a couple of doelings for our own yard!

The goat pen.

The four lovely ladies.

Posing with Sundance (Sunny), the mama of my soon-to-be babies!

Sunny is checking us out.

Tsunami Joe, the handsome papa.

Coco and Lilly Blue hamming it up for the camera.

We have a full slideshow of pictures from our visit, including some shots of the goat barn/setup. Click here for more lovely goat pics: Many thanks to Pat for giving us time with her goats and sharing so much info with us!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eat Here Now - Growing Food in Denver

I've recently connected with the folks from Transition Denver and Grow Local, and I'm very excited about the projects they have planned. I will be at this event on Tuesday night. I hope you can join us!

“Eat Here Now–Growing Food in Denver”
A Panel on the Growth of Urban Agriculture

Come join a few “movers and shakers” in the local food movement, and explore answers to some of the following questions: What is Community Supported Agriculture, and how is it playing out within the city limits? How can we grow more healthy food locally and get it distributed in effective ways? How can we use gardening techniques that are affordable, sustainable and use less resources? And much, much more……..

Panelists include:
Andy Nowak – Slow Food Denver
Ellen Rosenthal – Living Earth Center
Lisa Rogers and Tom Sorenson – Feed Denver
Faatma Mahremanesh – Solarlivity
James Hale – Produce Denver
Debbie Dalrymple - Sense of Colorado
Jim Sincock – Rocky Mountain Grower’s Directory

WHEN: Tuesday, January 13 from 7-9 p.m.
WHERE: At the Mercury Café
2199 California St., Denver
COST: There is a $5 suggested donation.

Transition Denver is a group of local citizens who have joined the rapidly-growing, worldwide Transition Initiative Movement . Transition Initiatives empower communities from the grassroots level to squarely face the challenges of peak oil, climate change and financial instability and find ways to collectively and drastically reduce carbon emissions, significantly rebuild resilience and strengthen our local economies.

This event is one of a series of Transition Denver events called Transition Fridays. Contact Dana Miller at 303-300-3547 for details, or visit for information about this event or about Transition Denver, as well as the other Transition Initiatives springing up in Colorado and other cities around the United States.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who Says You Can't Garden In Winter?

Ah, winter gardening.... the ultimate recycling in action. There are many ways to turn lawns into food, but if one has a lot of time they can choose to simply "mulch" their grass. Composting requires greens (nitrogen) and browns (carbon). Grass is a green, and cardboard, dry leaves, and newspaper are all browns. The hope is that together they will break down and form wonderfully rich soil.

So, I set about collecting boxes from the grocery store, newspapers from my parents, and dry leaves from my neighbors. The result was several hours of work outside and a (temporarily) very ugly backyard. But I got to think a lot about the process of growing food, and turning waste into nourishment.

It's fun to see that so many things can become compost. The lawn staples that held down the weed blocking fabric came in a little cardboard box, which promptly went right on the lawn as soon as the staples were gone. I had stored the newspapers in paper grocery sacks, which also went on the lawn. The sacks were from Whole Foods and advertised that they were made of recycled materials. Indeed! Now I'm going to recycle those bags into food!

Gardens do this all by themselves. Growing food is all about the cycle of birth, death, and re-birth. Over-ripe food rots back into the soil, leaves fall, and old plants get eaten away by worms. All of it goes to nourish the new seedlings in the spring.

I've found you can get very philosophical when left alone with a project like this for several hours. So now, here are the photos of the job....

***Note to any readers that may be considering donating their yards to Heirloom Gardens --- don't worry. We'll use a sod cutter and compost the sod for the garden. :)

The first step is to put down a layer of cardboard over the grass (and snow).

Next I added the leaves. Clover was a big help.

Lucy helped, too.

I finished with a layer of newspapers, then covered everything with the weed block fabric (which lets moisture in) and stapled it down.

Here's what it looks like when it's done.

The yard in progress.

Lucy likes the black fabric because it heats up so nicely in the sun.

It's good to rest after a long day of work!