Archive for March, 2016

Grow Your Own: FunkyTown

by John Weckerle

We find ourselves now teased by the all-too-common (it seems) early-March warm-up, followed by the mid-March cooldown.  In anticipation of the “re-warming” to follow, and eager to test the limits of the greenhouse, we’ve taken a few steps.  The first involves some seed-starting activity.  For this past Christmas, we received a delightful surprise: two seed-starting kits prepared by Plant Theatre! The kits include:

  • Funky Veg Kit – Cosmic Purple Carrots, Golden Zucchini, Rubine Brussels Sprouts (these would appear to be red or purple), Tigerella tomatoes, and Rainbow Chard
  • Cocktail Garden Kit – Cucamelon, Blue Borage, Lime Basil, Hyssop, Mint, and Lemon Balm

As of the date of this writing, we have at least one sprout of all these (indoors, under lights), all sprouted in peat pots – with the caveat that we are saving the carrot seeds for direct planting.  The tomato sprout is a bit “iffy” looking.  We’ll set another round in two or three weeks; we think it’s always best to stagger sprouts and plantings a bit to get a slightly longer yield in terms of time. We also have some purchased plants hanging in the wings – lettuce, broccoli, and a single Early Girl tomato.  We don’t always do hybrids, but the concept of eating a “real” tomato in early Summer is difficult to dismiss.

Early soil preparation efforts yielded some interesting insights.  When we first developed the garden, we took some of the soil mix to Jericho Nurseries for an opinion.  The verdict: “If I had a spoon right now, I’d eat this.”  Just a couple of years later, we realized that a major refertilization was needed, and found that the soil in many of our beds had been compressed in terms of soil structure and depleted in terms of organic material.  Even driving a standard turning fork into this material was difficult.  Senior Soil Amendment Correspondent Thom (a key figure in setting up the bed and working out the original soil mix) perhaps summed it up best by describing it as “caliche.”  We are now using a cultivator to break up the soil and turn in a substantial amount of very composted manure.  The tomato bed and six of the others are completed; the string bean, pepper, and two other beds remain.  If the weather is kind to us tomorrow, we may get the soil amendments finished, and with luck we can start planting in a few days (freezing conditions are expected tonight, and the low temperature is predicted at 34 degrees Sunday night). That would give us more than a month and a half “jump” on the season!





EMIFPA Info: Information For Preparedness Planning

by John Helmich

EM Residents,

We have had requests for information on specifically two types of products: spray gel or foam fire retardant, and heat reflective film for windows. The following are links to information regarding these products. We do not recommend any specific product, so this is information intended for you to explore and utilize for your preparedness options. Thanks Dushan for your research on this!


Reflective Window Covering products

  • RadiantGUARD® Ultima-foil Radiant Barrier Foil Insulation (500 square feet roll) U-500-B $94 on Amazon — rating 4.7* — blocks 97%
  • ARMA FOIL – 51″ x 118′ (500 sq ft) — blocks 95% — Amazon rating 4.8* $70 + $15 (S&H) from
  • Super R Diamond Radiant Barrier 1000 sq.ft Perforated $71.50 + $4.50 (S&H) on Amazon — rating 4.9*
  • Enerflex Radiant Barrier Roll $136 for 10 rolls (480 sq ft)
  • 500 sqft (4ft x 125ft) of NASA TECH Commercial Grade SOLID Non Perforated, No Tear, Green Energy, Radiant Barrier, Reflective Insulation Attic Foil Roof Attic House Wrap SCIF RIFD — by AES — blocks 97% $60 + $4.50 (S&H) from Amazon

John Helmich

EMIFPA Community Education Outreach Coordinator

EMIFPA web site

EMIFPA Facebook site

Twitter: @EMIFPA_NM

Letter From Mountainair

(Editor’s note: We received this a while ago and, while we’re not clear on what’s going on in Mountainair, there are some interesting points contained in the letter. We present it here unabridged as food for thought on several obvious topics.)

by Dan Embree

Fellow Citizens of Mountainair

I’m one of the local trouble-makers – one of the many citizens who over the last couple of years have been attempting to induce the town council and the mayor to comply with New Mexico law in conducting their meetings, and I’m the guy who was famous for 15 minutes last summer for being dragged out of a council meeting by Chief Robert Chung on the orders of Mayor Chester Riley for objecting, in a parliamentary way – it’s recorded – to the council going into executive session without saying, as the law requires, what they were going to talk about.

Because I’ve discovered that my name (and that incident) is being used to frighten people into voting for incumbents Barbara Chung and George Immerwahr, as supposedly stalwart defenders of public order against outsiders and provocateurs, I would like to briefly tell a story that may illuminate my character and that of my accusers.

While I was passively refusing to leave the council meeting that night (but offering to leave quietly if handcuffed and arrested), George Immerwahr shouted “Filthy, disgusting haters!” at me and my wife, Joan (the least hateful person you will ever meet) and a half dozen others who supported us; and Barbara Chung shouted at me, “We know your history! You were one of those protesters who spit on returning Viet Nam veterans!”

“Well, actually,” I replied from the floor, where I was by that time, “I was one of those returning Viet Nam veterans.” (For the record, no one spit on me.)  I had served for a year as an infantry officer in Quang Tri Province, in the rice paddies and villages along the DMZ and on a hilltop on the Laotian border.  It was all field duty – no staff job, no general’s aide, no rear echelon – and to be fair, no heroism, no medals for valor.

So it stung a bit and it still stings to be called a spitter on veterans.  Years later, after the Kent State shootings, I did become a protester.  With two of my West Point classmates and a graduate of the Air Force Academy, I helped found Concerned Academy Graduates (surely the straightest, stodgiest, even stuffiest anti-war group of that era), and we grew to a modest 1000 members across the country, appearing on radio and TV and writing editorials and making speeches against the war.

But we never spit on anyone.  Nor did any of the protesters that we marched with, as far as I know.  We did march: in the spring of 1971 we marched in San Francisco with another 400,000 protesters, many of them veterans, all of them Americans. I pulled my two-year-old son in a red wagon; my wife, Joan (one of George’s “haters”) marched with our daughter in utero. That was one of the best days in one of most meaningful periods of our lives, and it remains beyond the reach of petty politicians to recast into some shameful narrative that suits their own purposes.

The veterans of that war have different stories and different versions of what that war meant.  And we tell one another those stories when we meet briefly – on the street or in Gustin’s or at the Alpine or at Mike’s gas station or anywhere.  And we often disagree.  But we respect one another and we call one another “Brother” and we don’t make up nonsense to blacken each other’s reputations.

So, just as I can laugh off the spectacle of  public officials making up nonsense about their achievements in an election flyer, I can see this attack on my reputation and my wife’s character for what it is: the desperate product of over-heated imaginations.

This campaign isn’t supposed to be about me, and I am sorry to have been dragged into it in this silly way. There are several good and  reasonable candidates, firmly rooted in reality,  who are looking to serve the community without glorifying themselves.  I hope you will vote for them.

Dan Embree



[Please forward this email to everyone you know.  Please print it out and hand it to your neighbors.]