Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

resource management

I Bought Begonias Today

I bought begonias today, because I like the contrast of pinks across the dark purplish foliage and because I like how they can grow in pots in the shade, because trying to grow things here directly in the dirt, out in the sun, tends to be something of a losing enterprise if one is not made out of water, and we are increasingly unmade of water these days in the USA southwest.

I have taken to mining the topsoil, tedious rapacious White Person that I am, and using it for potting soil. I dig out the top six or ten inches. I’m currently working a plot I composted on top of, for several years. When I’m done, I have a nice shallow wide ditch in which to work a light compost of leaves and soft vegetation removed from elsewhere where I would get cited if I let it grow because That Is Weeds.

I’m currently trying to grow potatoes in such mixes of rotting leaves upon dirt in ditches, because I had more seed potatoes than I needed even after I gave the extras away in a box on the street with a friendly handwritten explanatory note. 

 The worst thing that will happen here is that I will have a little more information about growing potatoes, even if that information is basically “nope.” But so far, the ones in the bins are sprouting. The old plastic compost bins that were starting to crack and the five gallon buckets were what I had around, and so far I hear no subsonic whining.

I’m seeing a lot of purple in the upcoming foliage. I tried growing purpler potatoes a little ways north of here in 1998 and they did great but we had to move before they might have grown us some new potatoes.

I also planted yellow finns and a red fingerling. And a Rio Grande russet. 

I would not try to grow potatoes if I did not want to regularly eat them. They are nutritiously wonderfully balanced and they soothe my digestion. I have the good fortune to have marginal legal control over a piece of Mother Earth measuring about sixty by 120 feet, meaning I “own” this land I hole up in, and feel relatively safe upon.

But mostly I don’t eat from my “property,” at least historically. I planted a bunch of reasonably drought-tolerant trees and shrubs. I appreciate them, and they appreciate me. 

Red onions were $2.50 a pound at the grocery store today. I could grow those. But I’d have to be careful. 

Assuming it rains, which I don’t. We’re predicted ENSO neutral so far this year. But who is doing the predicting and how far have they figured in this business of the temperature differentials changing when one thing heats up and another melts and the energy that drives a wind engine is diminished because the heat differential lessened, and then the wind engine that drives a wind train that moves the weather along stalls out, and the wind train gets all lost and takes to meandering around into Mexico or wherever and whenever it feels like it?

Damned if I know. I have some spinach looking good in pots. I expect to be doing more of this. 

I made them out of empty cat litter containers. You can steal that stuff from recycling bins, ya know. White containers reflect heat.

Don’t forget to drill holes.

Water Wars…

This outlines the local situation reasonably well. A few of the early settlers here (fin d’ siecle) were farseeing and nailed down senior water rights for Carlsbad, which continues to be pretty strong in this department. As the droughts continue and temperatures rise a bit, surface water storage is going to become even less effective and it’s going to become increasingly obvious that water is best stored underground.

The dissent is as always about the flow of the Pecos and how much it’s affected by pumping. But this dissent links directly into above-ground storage. Ultimately people in the region should recognize that they are fighting the wrong battle and should address pumping overall, not the flow of the Pecos specifically, but that would mean fighting water rights that are over 100 years old.

Meanwhile what will probably happen is the mining companies will buy up the land with water rights as the drought continues and farming will suffer a severe setback in the region, which is likely a good idea, except that at least with farming, the water is given back in some manner – mining tends to pollute and even sequester it.