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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Move Your Google RSS Feed to Bloglovin

Do you subscribe to The Nickel and Dime Ranch Blog using Google Reader? On July 1, Google Reader will cease to exist! Yep, Google is cleaning house and will no longer offer this service to people. If you use Google Reader as your RSS, you might want to switch to another service pronto.

I have been using Bloglovin for about a month now and it works just fine, so here is how to transfer your Google Reader feed to Bloglovin.

How to Import Your RSS subscriptions  from Google Reader to Bloglovin’

Yesterday Mattias Swenson (who I believe was giving everyone high-fives around the Bloglovin’ office) sent an email about Bloglovin’s new two-click RSS import:
First, click here:
Then it will bring you to this page: Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 6.40.13 PM
Click that blue button that says “Import from Google Reader”
You’ll have to re-categorize your blogs to how you like them, it just imports all the feeds… but with all the blogs I subscribe to, it only took about 15 minutes.

It takes even less time if you are like me and didn't even re-categorize them.

What you will get is a once a day email with links to all the new blog posts from your favorite blogs list. It's easy! Yes, it is!

Friday, June 21, 2013

In Progress-Raised Bed Veggie Garden and Perennial Bed

When we moved from Southern California to our cabin here in Northern New Mexico, it was the first time we had a lawn. The little house where we lived for 30 years had a heavily shaded ivy and dirt yard and not much grew in that deep shade, so no grass and no flowers. On the sunny side of the house we grew a veggie garden, but the only flowers I planted were marigolds to help protect the tomatoes.

The cabin here at the Nickel and Dime is surrounded by lawn. It is beautiful, restful and green, but I realized that my 18 foot Growing Dome can only hold so much and I wanted to be able to grow more stuff. So the south lawn is being converted to raised beds along with a bee and hummingbird friendly perennial garden.

Here's what we have so far:

Above is a long view of three beds already made and three waiting for their lumber. There will be 6-12 by 4 foot beds and 3-4 by 4 foot beds. Wow.

Here's how the beds are prepared: The lawn was dug away and leveled where the bed would stand. Weed barrier cloth and then a staggered double layer of chicken wire are laid in the bottom. We have a gopher problem, thus the chicken wire. I wanted hardware cloth, a heavy duty half inch mesh, but the cost was insane. So the chicken wire is staggered to make the holes smaller and I will hope that is enough discouragement.

Sticking up out of the ground is poly hose with a threaded end. I decided to screw on a soaker hose rather than use emitters because I have more watering choices that way.

The wood is 4 inch by 6 inch by 12 foot treated timbers stacked three high. At that height I can sit on the edge and not have to crawl around on the ground when planting.

The timbers are secured on the inside with corner brackets and straight brackets. The sides are lined with more weed barrier cloth to preserve moisture.

So why do I have raised beds? Well, I am lazy, that's why. Weeds are more easily controlled in raised beds with weed barrier cloth and I can mix the soil by adding bagged planting mix and ranch dirt. There are composted raspberry canes in there, too. If I don't like the soil I can add some bagged mix to the bed. Plus, if I wander around a bit I can start a cow pie collection and have some nice manure, as well.

The bunnies who hang out in the yard don't climb, so my lettuce should be safe. Don't get me started on ground squirrels, though.

When I plant lettuce in this garden, though, I will probably add some PVC hoops and row cover to protect the little seedlings from hungry birds and other marauders.

Here is a shot of the perennial bed running the length of our deck. The plants are still small, but they seem to like it there.

Underneath the gravel are weed barrier cloth and drip emitters to each plant. I was excited to see hummingbirds almost as soon as the plants were in the ground. 

Surrounding the raised veggie and strawberry beds is more weed barrier cloth which will be covered with bark. 

The garden is finally coming together and although it may be too late to plant everything I would like to grow, I will have plenty of time to do more research to see which plants would do best up here in the mountains at 7400 feet.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

They Call It God's Country

 Ms. Pearl and I went for a little walk yesterday and while watching MP trot around and then freeze, sniffing the air and wondering just what was that interesting scent, I took a look around. I mean, really looked around at this gorgeous place we now call home.

It makes a big dog look small.

 The rimrock topped by the mesa looms over this part of the ranch.

When someone in northern New Mexico asks where I live and I tell them, they either don't know where the heck that place is, or they say immediately, "That's God's Country!"

I just call it "Home."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Lazy Boyz Want Rain!

The other day T and I were picking up wood in The Enchanted Forest and our usually shy Lazy Boyz came to watch us work.

Actually, they were looking for a handout. We've only fed them hay when the temps have been low or there was too much snow, but they remembered.

The only green and growing grass on the ranch is along the creek, but because we haven't had enough rain (yet), the rest of the place just has last year's leftovers. It's food and they aren't getting skinny, but it's dry and crunchy, not green and juicy.

And dry grass is boring! "Hey, bro!" say the Lazy Boyz. "Give us some hay!"

Seriously, ranchers with big herds of cattle are selling them early because there's not enough grass. We are lucky to have grass left over from last year and to only have a "herd" of two cattle.  To feed hay to a large herd would cost way too much.

That's why the price of your steaks is going up and will continue to go up during this drought. It costs more to feed cattle when there isn't enough grass or hay. Supply and demand and all that.

The typical conversation around here always starts with, "We need rain." And yes, we do, not only to feed the livestock and keep the rivers and creeks flowing, but also to help the firefighters who are working their hearts out to protect people, animals and property in the path of wild fires.

Pray, do a rain dance, or just send up your watery thoughts. The southwest needs rain!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Time to Comb the Yaks

When you get an email asking if you might want to herd some yaks, it would be crazy to turn it down, don't you think?

So the other day 20 people, both local and from Santa Fe, decided that yes, yak herding sounded just fine, especially when it's such a pretty day.

Yak herding is easy with 20 herders: One person sits in the bed of a pickup truck and holds out some hay. The lead yak decides that hay is a good idea and follows the truck and the rest of the herd follows, because that's what yaks do. Theoretically.

Our job was to make a line behind the yaks and follow along just in case they decided the hay was a trick and wanted to hightail it out of there. With 20 herders spread out behind the yaks, it was easy peasy and before you knew it, all 14 bovines were in the pen awaiting their shots, ear tags for the newbies, and combing.

The guys picked up each baby for a shot and an ear tag.

 The squeeze chute was there for the adult yaks.

Once inside the chute, they got their shots and a good combing.

Yak fiber is very soft, like cashmere, and is sold for about 18 dollars an ounce.

After each yak was released from the squeeze chute, they looked back as if to say, "What the heck happened?"

When the yaks finished their medical and beauty treatments, we had a picnic under some old cottonwood trees.

Yeah, the life of a New Mexico yak herder is pretty tough.

Photos courtesy of Christa and David. Thanks!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Locally Grown Winner!

Congratulations to Skooks, whose comment, "I love Chickadee!"  was in the number 4 position. She is the winner of the Locally Grown fabric bundle.

Thanks to ThreadBear in Las Vegas, NM, for sharing your stuff!

I checked out Skooks' blog, Skooks' Playground and have to say it's a fun place to visit for crafty, sewy and quilty ideas. 

Her most recent post shows a quilt whose blocks are made from vintage sheets. I have a bundle of vintage sheet squares somewhere in the fabric closet. Where the heck are they?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quilty Pleasures-Chicken River Modern Quilt Guild

We are excited to announce the Chicken River Modern Quilt Guild in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The Gallinas River flows through this, the original Las Vegas, and gallinas means chickens, so that's where the name came from.

We even have a blog with our introductory story:

We hope if you live in the area you can come play with us!

Here are a few things we have been working on:

This is a challenge where we each had three fat quarters and could add two other fabrics to make a modern style block. Our goal is to use up all the fat quarters and they seem like they go on and on. After that, we will make a quilt. That's all we know about that so far.

We have been messing around with hexagons and below is the beginning of a project Ann is working on. Go hexagons!

 I started playing with a charm pack of Zen Chic fabrics:

And Linda brought her finished Las Cruces quilt. It's not totally modern, but it's a stunner nonetheless. More about this quilt later.

And don't forget there's a giveaway of Locally Grown fat quarters. Cute! Deadline is tonight.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quilty Pleasures: Locally Grown Giveaway

I'm all for locally grown foods: my garden (soon to be gardens), the Lazy Boys and our friends' chickens' eggs all contribute to our food chain here in Northern New Mexico. Once I find some pork and locally grown chickens, we should be in excellent shape.

But today we aren't talking food, but fabric--Locally Grown, a new collection from Andover Fabrics by Marisa and Creative Thursday.

Ann at Thread Bear in Las Vegas, NM, our local quilt shop, is giving away a fat quarter bundle of these cutecutecute fabrics with goats and sheep and fruits and chickens.  Oh, my!

You may enter the giveaway twice if you follow these rules:

1. Make a comment on this blog saying what foods you would like to buy or already buy that are locally grown.

2. Visit Thread Bear's website and after you've drooled over all the fabric there is to buy, come back and make a comment on this site telling us what fabric you liked the best.

So you may make two comments for two chances to win. Oh, yeah. Deadline for entries is Midnight, Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, June 6.

Just remember if you are a no reply blogger and don't leave any contact info, you won't be able to win!

And here is a neat idea:

Cover an empty oatmeal box with cute paper or fabric for a neato thread and scrap catcher in your sewing room.