July 4th Weekend

With some imagination this sunflower could stand in for fireworks. I took this photo at the farm market a week ago. It seemed at the time almost miraculous. It certainly was the first of the local sunflowers to appear at the market. It was grown by Ezequiel Martinez at Alcantar Farm in Espanola, a couple thousand feet lower than Taos.

Due to the high fire danger the annual fireworks display in Taos has been cancelled this year. Late this afternoon I was out in the back garden picking peas and I could actually feel humidity in the air. There was a very light sensation of wet sprinkles on my skin. This could be life-saving good news for slowing down New Mexico’s forest fires. Let’s hope the condition continues…

This truck and all the baskets belong to Bob Allalunis, a locally famous red willow basket-maker who’s been practicing this art locally for the past 20 years. He says he learned it from people at the Taos Pueblo originally. Since willows love wet land it’s natural from them to grow along the acequia ditches, but in spring those ditches have to be cleared for access and and good water flow. This situation creates a natural harvest of the basket-making materials.

This is Bob on the left. He told me that he and his wife, Pattie, have been instrumental in encouraging the continuation of traditional red willow basketry in the Taos community. The artistry of their work has been honored over the years by such museums as the Millicent Rogers.

Fresh harvests of garlic is starting to appear around Saturday’s farm market. These braids were offered at the Mergirl Gardens booth. The couple, Ron and Debora, hail from La Vallita, near Espanola. I got my corn seeds from Ron, who enjoys growing valuable historic varieties of it and seed saving.

Here’s the status of my corn now. If you look closely you can see small bean plants sprouting up around the circle of corn and on either side a winter squash plant–a small dark orange variety. I mentioned in a previous blog that this traditional combination is called the “three sisters.” I had a lot more corn come up but a day before taking this photo I thinned it. Bob suggested 5 or 6 ” apart. For my climbing beans I chose Kentucky Wonder, a type I’ve grown before.

I took this looking down into the protective tunnel created by the “walls of water” around three of my tomato plants. As you can see this plant is about to pop out of the top. I’ll have to start figuring out how to support the vertical growth to come. Last summer I was kept busy adding to a support I built out of sticks tied together with twine. I did manage to keep up and was more than pleased with my harvest of the fruits over a three-month period. This year I’ve added two more plants near these, up next to the house.

I hate to toot my own horn but I’ll admit I’ve been getting lots of compliments lately on my flower photography. Just to keep up the reputation I submit this shot of a wild variety of sweet pea blooming today in a flower bed at the Hanuman Temple. Speaking of the temple I noticed they had a booth at the farm market on Saturday. On Friday evening I’d attended a Dark Moon women’s circle and met one of the woman gardeners working there this season, so was able to recognize her the next day at the market.

I really liked the monthly women’s circle, my first time to attend, and plan on going back each New Moon. It was held at the newly opened 2Wolves Center and led by Nicole, one of the 2 partners. They have a website and are ready now to launch their offerings of classes and healing consultations.

Happy Independence Day!

Orange Poppy pod