Sunday, March 5, 2017

Welcome March ~ 2 0 1 7

Our goal for March is to continue pulling weeds.  The recent rain we've had this year has brought in oodles of weeds, ALL OVER!

Front yard, green house {explained in a bit} and side yard where the garden is located are just covered.  We've been slowly plugging away at pulling them, it's a vicious circle.  We will also pour boiling water on the weeds, this works just as well as any harmful herbicides that I refuse to use.

After we get the weeds pulled we'll start putting veggie seeds and some starts in the ground.

Can't wait for some fresh veggies.  Our winter garden didn't really take off this year.  I attribute it to the fact that I injured my leg and haven't been able to get out into the garden and fertilize, everything just seems to be growing so slowly.

Our herbs that we potted are doing fabulous, even the strawberries are hanging in there.  We have two peach trees to plant yet, need to figure out placement for them.  Our Border Collie has other ideas for our main backyard so most of our garden will be planted on the side yard where the girls were.  The trees can go in the main part of the back yard, but will need to be Border Collie proof.

Our greenhouse still needs to be completed.  We've decided that since 4 of the seven councilmembers are against chickens we just as well use that space as a greenhouse.  We still own our property, but they get to dictate what we can and can't do on it.  The hen house itself will make a nice storage and potting area.  We can put shelving units in the main area outside of the hen house to start seeds during the cooler months.

We'll also start trying some veggies in the front yard, sort of integrate them into our landscaping, per code, we can do this as it is considered landscaping.

We'll be putting bush beans, cucumbers, zucchini, okra, tomatoes, artichokes, and lots of peppers. Probably some others I can't think of off the top of my head.

Enjoy the weather and gardening, it's going to be a beautiful time to get our gardens going.

M & S
Uptown Grange

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Overthinking ~ Chickens

This past weekend we've been going to Coop Camp.  Coop Dreams  is a television show that follows Brad Hauter and his experience raising backyard chickens.  There are presenters talking about various issues with chicken keeping whether it be backyard chickens, breeders or farming.

It's been very informative.  Topics from chicken feed, chicken treats, chicken enrichment, treating sick chickens, rare breeds among many others have been discussed so far.  I was very lucky and was nominated for a scholarship and then Coop Camp went over and above and  offered a discount to the members of our Facebook group Glendale Backyard Farmers Movement.

After we got home tonight I started thinking, pondering, you know smoke coming out of the ears kind of thinking.  Our city turns a blind eye to some families they know are harboring illegal backyard chickens.  In the words of the Code Enforcement Director, code will not enforce backyard chickens unless there is a complaint and that is handled like a barking dog {this is false}, they won't look over a wall nor will they try to see if there are chickens through a fence.

Now say a person has a neighbor who will call code and complain about their neighbor having chickens.  Whether it is a nuisance, odor and just to nark.  If the neighbor who was complained on is asked to removed their chickens and they refuse, they could face a fine.  Here is the hiccup I have an issue with, how could the city impose a fine on someone who was complained about and not on those they may know about and are turning a blind eye on?

Would it be considered unfairness to those harboring illegal chickens in to city of Glendale who have neighbors that complain vs. those who have neighbors who are okay with their neighbors harboring illegal chickens?.  Shouldn't it be all or nothing and not a sort of picking who they enforce the code and fees on? Would this be considered a sort of discrimination?

What do you think?

M & S
Uptown Grange

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Pause In Our Quest to Legalize Backyard Chickens

Today the City of Glendale council decided to not move forward with the ordinance change ZTA 16-02, which was to expand and legalize backyard chickens in zones R1-4, R1-5, R1-6, R1-8, R1-10.

Aldama - Yes
Clark - Yes, but with many restrictions, she wouldn't compromise with getting neighbors permission. She was stuck on lots no smaller than R1-10 (10,000 sq feet or larger only). So basically a no, unless she got her way.
Hugh - Yes
Malnar - No
Tolmachoff - No
Turner - Yes
Weiers - No

Their reasons for no varied between the life, liberty and pursuit of happinesss for those that are against backyard chickens being more important than the few that would actually get chickens.  To if people want chickens they can buy a property that allows them, as if most people in the city can afford to do that, we are one of the poorest cities in the Phoenix Metro area.

What it really boiled down to was the 3 definite no's being concerned with their voter base.  Most of the voter base is in the northern part of Glendale & they live in HOA's...and a stubborn council member not wanting to budge on what she already set her compromise on.

Staff created a map of the city if the chicken ordinance were to go through.  They changed it from a few zones to many more, but no guarantee ALL of those families would get chickens, so the map was sort of deceiving.

What I learned today, it doesn't matter how well you know a council member or even if you are friends with them you can't trust them as far as you can throw them.  They will betray you even if you just went and helped them with yard work or are on a personal level with them.  They are only concerned with their ego and equality only applies to those with affluence.

Ironically, Coop Dreams Camp is being held at Sahuaro Ranch Park the weekend of February 17.  We plan on going still, a lot will be learned and this fight isn't over.  I received a scholarship to attend the weekend and Coop Dreams offered a deep discount for members of our group.

Our journey is not over, but is on pause until we can regroup and figure out what our next step will be.  We've already reached out for another possibility, but it will be a lot more involved.

M & S
Uptown Grange

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spring Fever

It's been so nice the last few days, a bit of rain, but still nice, low to mid 60's all week.  Normally I'd be freezing, but I can feel spring in the air.  Yes, I know technically there is still two months before spring is officially here, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming and catching the fever.  Even Grangeman has the fever along with Doodles.

We ran to Summer Winds Nursery today.  I like that nursery over the big box hardware stores because they get different plants in that you can't find in the big box stores.  We ran there because I was after some strawberry plants, lemon balm and Thai basil.  I got two out of the three and then some....

We also got a tomato plant that we will plant under the orange tree on the side yard where the girls were.  Right now it is the only place to plant as we have a puppy and he runs through our raised beds, there is no way we would have any plant left if we put in one of those.

Lemon Balm is the top plant AKA Melissa, a very expensive essential oil, the lower plant is Stevia.

Japanese Giant Red Mustard is the top plant, this plant tastes a bit like horseradish/mustard combined, it will get pretty little yellow flowers on it, on the left are Chives & the lower right is Italian Oregano.


Grangeman just recently planted this basil, we had numerous self seeded basil plants here, but they were getting rangy and more woody than plant so they got replaced.

We decided to put these in pots to determine where there best placement will be once it starts getting hot outside.  We will also be able to move them inside of the house if need be, I'd like to try to keep them rather than replace each year.

I know we will more than likely get a few more cold snaps before spring officially gets here, but I just can't wait.  Spring is my favorite season! 

M & S
Uptown Grange

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Garden – January 2 0 1 7

It's been too long....

December was a very eventful month. Not only was it the Christmas, but my father fell and broke his hip. Thank the Lord he is okay, he had surgery and is getting settled into his rehab and a new living situation.

I planted seeds back in late September, well, the broccoli and brussel sprouts came up nicely, we are still waiting for them to produce, hopefully soon. We had one swiss chard, one cauliflower & one kale come up and that was it. A few beets came up, but were a sorry excuse…

Part of the problem was I took a tumble in mid-October and injured one of my knees. I already have OA in both knees, but this compounded the pain and it was very difficult to get out to the garden, walk or even do anything (including laundry). I am doing physical therapy to strengthen my core and legs at home, and am now on some meds (much to my displeasure) for the pain and inflammation. In February, hopefully my insurance will approve it, I will be getting injections to add cushion to my knees.

But I digress…

Anyhow, the meds are working a bit, so I was able to get out into the garden and get some seeds planted this past weekend. I planted carrots, spinach, beets {golden & detroit}, swiss chard, kale, bib lettuce & cabbage. After they were planted I took some of our homemade compost and sprinkled it over the top, this should add extra nutrients to the ground and the plants as well. I also sprinkled it around the veggies that are already up hoping to give them a boost.

Grangeman started some Carolina Reapers & I started some artichokes inside of the house, they are starting to take off as well. It’s always an adventure, sometimes in futility but not always, you don’t know until you try.

Living in Arizona, we are blessed that we can garden pretty much 365 days a year. Some Arizonans baby their plants through the hottest parts of the summer {late June through July} to have fall and even winter crops, we’ve not had much luck with this, but of course, we are still learning the ins and outs of having a backyard farm, what works and doesn’t work and because we both work full time it can be a challenge to stay on top of things, but we do the best that we can.

There is a bit of news regarding legalizing backyard chickens where we live, but will save for another post.

Happy Trails

M & S
Uptown Grange