Wednesday, October 27, 2010

prickly pear juice

here in the high desert, the deep magenta fruit of the prickly pear cactus - called a tuna in spanish - is especially abundant this year, so we tried making juice for the first time ever. step one: harvest tuna very carefully using tongs (they have lots of tiny thorns, or glochids) step two: cut the fruits in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh with a grapefruit spoon or melon baller. step three: place flesh in a pot in the sun oven or on top of the stove with a little water, let cook down for an hour or so. step four: press pulp thru a food mill. step five: put back in the sun oven for another hour with some sugar (we used some mexican brown sugar). step six: enjoy over pancakes or ice cream, mixed with kombucha or in a margarita, or any other way you might use a wonderful sweet-tart berry-flavored syrup!

Friday, October 15, 2010

rainwater harvesting

we've edited together some footage we shot last winter into a 1 minute video to give a quick overview of how a basic rainwater catchment system works.

the amount of rain you can harvest will, of course, vary according to the area of your roof. there are formulas for this, but the basic gist is that a 1000 square feet of roof can provide 600 gallons of water for every inch of rain. there are also ways to use swales and berms to slow down and direct the flow of water on your land in order to create areas of higher moisture where trees and croplands can flourish. we learned so much from brad lancaster's book rainwater harvesting for drylands - one of our favorite reference materials.