Friday, April 30, 2010

Las Vegas is for the birds this weekend

Las Vegas is for the birds this weekend

Thursday, April 22, 2010

7th Annual Benefit Trail Ride

Spirit Therapies is hosting their 7th Annual Benefit Trail Ride:

Date: Saturday May 1, 2010

Registration: 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Ride Begins: 10:00 Sharp

Location: Badger Pass Trail, Cottonwood Trails System, Red Rock Canyon OFF STAR ROUTE 160 (2nd parking lot to the left as you are going "over the hump to Pahrump")

Riders must bring their own horses, NO STALLIONS PLEASE!

Fee: $35.00 (tax deductible) includes breakfast, lunch, one raffle ticket. Free T-
Shirt for early sign-ups.

Fees may be paid on the day of the event but must be paid via cash or check. Fees may also be paid on-line at via pay pal.

Entry blank may be downloaded from the web site or contact Laurie Willmott, Executive Director for an entry blank or any additional questions you may have.

OR: just pay the fee as a donation to Spirit Therapies, enjoy breakfast, lunch, raffle and auction, some good company and a good time!

All donations are put back into the therapeutic horseback riding program for individuals with special needs, including our military/veteran hero program.

Hope too see you there!

Laurie Willmott, Executive Director
Phone: 219-1728

TRIP OF THE WEEK: Pahrump offers several fall community events - Living -

TRIP OF THE WEEK: Pahrump offers several fall community events - Living -

Sunday, April 18, 2010

CHICKEN REVIVAL | City-dwelling poultry lovers have created a growing market

By Diane Dietz

The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: Sunday, Apr 18, 2010


After 20 years in retail, Bill Bezuk didn’t need a market analysis to recognize a business opportunity.

Then-store manager at Barnes & Noble — after long management stints at The Sports Authority and REI — Bezuk was positioned to detect a topic of growing interest among his customers.

“It seems like every day or so we had people coming in and looking for books like The Backyard Farmer and how to raise chickens and organic gardening,” Bezuk said.

To Bezuk, 45, who was ready to try something new and something hands-on, selling chickens to city folk seemed like a lucrative niche.

So he pushed his “business casual” wear to the back of the closet, put on a bluework shirt and carpenter’s pants and began turning an old auto shop at 5th Avenue and Washington Street into a novice-friendly chicken supply shop: The Eugene Backyard Farmer.

He hopes to ride the urban chickenkeeping wave for four or five years, experiment until he perfects the merchandising formula, and then launch a chain.

“The timing is right for this,” he said. “The trends are obvious. It seems like everybody I know has chickens or knows somebody who wants chickens. Or wants to get chickens.”

Hatcheries confirm the trend that Bezuk detected.

Beginning in 2007, the demand for chicks in urban areas has increased as much as 20 percent a year, growers say.

“Historically, any time the economy has been bad, poultry has always been good,” said Bud Wood, president of the Iowa-based Murray McMurray Hatchery.

Murray McMurray is a leading shipper of retail-bound chicks, hatching 1.7 million annually.

Wood said he can’t stay ahead of the demand. “Right now, if you call in and place an order, it would be four to six weeks out before we could fill it,” he said.

In Oregon, Woodburn High school teacher Peter Porath started a hatchling wholesale operation, Oregon Peeps, after he lost his job in 2007. He sold 12,000 chicks his first spring, and he’s on pace to deliver 45,000 this year, he said.

Salem chicken activist Barbara Palermo said the chicken fervor is driven by economic fears.

“People are getting laid off, losing houses and losing jobs,” she said. “They want to hang on to what they have. A lot of them remember their grandparents telling them, ‘It’s chickens that saved us during the Depression.’ It’s much the same situation now.”

Backyard chicken raising may resonate with the public’s economic anxieties, and it’s certainly a hobby with a return. However the return is more likely to be nutritious than monetary — after the cost of equipping the urban flock is factored in.

“If you look at how much an egg costs you, it’s not break even,” said Mike Lengele, owner of Diess Feed and Seed on West 11th Avenue, who sells chicks by the hundreds through the spring hatching season.

The locavore movement

A spate of books and films is also driving the backyard chicken craze by raising doubts about industrial food sources, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “Food Inc.” and most recently “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.”

“The urban chicken is rising because of the organic, healthful lifestyle,” Wood said.

Chickenkeeping appeals to people who want to be sure the hens that lay their free-range eggs have really seen the light of day. They want to know the birds are treated humanely and their food isn’t tainted with antibiotics or hormones, according to the clean-food literature.

And fresh eggs taste better, their advocates say.

Oregon State University Extension officials were shocked in March by the response to their “Backyard Barnyard” chicken-raising seminar. “Our first class got out-of-hand. We had over 75 people,” organizer Linda Renslow said. “We couldn’t accommodate all of the people.”

So the extension scheduled a May 8 repeat, and already has 47 names on the waiting list.

Chicken chic

In recent months, chickens have hit the nation’s trend centers. The September New Yorker featured: “The It Bird: The return of the back-yard chicken.” A top read this year is “Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer,” about author Novella Carpenter’s spread on an abandoned lot in Oakland,

“Martha Stewart (on April 2) had an entire segment on raising chickens. So if Martha is doing it, everybody should be doing it,” Bezuk said.

Chickens exhibit sufficient varieties of color and form to give home decor fashionistas free range. In west Eugene, for example, Diess Feed and Seed offers 12 different breeds.

“One week (customers) have got to have Rhode Island Reds,” Lengele said. “The next week, oh no, they’ve got to have speckled Sussex or they have to have the black Australorp. We couldn’t keep enough buff Orpingtons for a while, now we’ve got 15 of them still here. Martha Stewart rants and raves about a certain chicken and everybody has to have one of those.”

The loci of chicken passion in Eugene-Springfield is in the Friendly area, where the neighborhood chicken group has 36 members. The group is planning a second annual tour of coops on May 1.

“Just within the last five years, people have really started to consider growing their own food, raising their own chickens,” said Friendly resident Anne Donahue. “There’s always folks who have done it for much longer than that, but it’s really now become more popular.

“If you were out for a walk, you’d probably hear somebody’s chickens wherever you are in the Friendly area neighborhood.”

Chicken power

Urban chicken farmers are asserting themselves politically at all levels of government. They’re pushing for a bill in Congress (H.R. 4971) to create an Office of Urban Agriculture within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make sure that urban farmers get a cut of the agency’s $146 billion budget.

Closer to home, in Salem, legalizing chickenkeeping within city limits has become a major topic in the May 18 mayoral race — after the city council turned down urban farmer hopefuls last fall. Chicken advocates rate the candidates on a scale of chicken-friendliness.

“Our efforts made the front of the Wall Street Journal. You don’t get bigger than that, you just don’t,” said Palermo, who is spearheading the campaign for Salem’s chickens. “There are so many chicken lovers out there. You can’t believe.”

The Gresham City Council legalized chickenkeeping in December, but the Beaverton City Council has declined to do so in recent months. The to-keep-or-not-to-keep debate was settled some time ago in Eugene-Springfield. Springfield allows residents to keep four hens; Eugene allows two.

Eugene chickenkeepers, however, say two hens is not enough to feed a big family, and the city should raise its limits.

They have the ear of Mayor Kitty Piercy, who sees urban homesteading, including “micro livestock,” as a way to increase food security.

In the meantime, city nuisance officials enforce the number only when neighbors complain.

Golden eggs?

Bezuk wasn’t the first to see a business opportunity in the urban chicken niche.

Landscape architect Robert Litt opened his Urban Farm Store in Portland, offering garden and chicken supplies, in February 2009 — and he outgrew his space within a year. The demand for chickens took him by surprise.

“It’s become pretty common here in Portland. It’s become a movement with staying power,” he said.

Since then, entrepreneurs from other cities, including Bezuk, have visited the store to get his advice.

Bezuk initially sought outside funding for his Eugene start-up.

He wrote up a business plan, figuring he had the retail trends on his side. And he knows retail: How to produce a 50 percent margin and increased inventory turn rate and reduce shrinkage; how to manage customer relations, merchandising, conflict resolution, budget management, display, inventory control, profit and loss; how to how to hire, train and motivate staff.

In his view, it was an impressive package, Bezuk said, but bankers didn’t buy it.

“I was turned down four times,” he said. “I know how successful I’m going to be, but I can’t quantify it for a banker.”

Two months ago, Bezuk quit the top job at Eugene’s Barnes & Noble store to give his around-the-clock attentions to the new venture — now funded by his life savings. He declined to disclose the sum.

Since then, he has barely had time to sleep as he transformed the old auto repair shop, filled the shelves, built a demonstration chicken coup and nursed a wholesale order of 100 peeps — White Rocks, Production Reds and Cinnamon Queens

Although bleary eyed, he was cheered by the passersby who stopped to chat when his sign went up, even before the store’s April 10 opening.

“They’re passionate about chickens,” he said. “They love them. They give them names and they take care of them. They feed them well.”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eco Indoor Gardening – A Fun and Healthy Pastime

Indoor gardening is becoming a popular activity worldwide. Indoor plants not only detoxify the air, but also provide a charming and decorative addition to any home or apartment.


Derived mostly from non-renewable fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers are used to fertilize soil. The widespread and excessive use of chemical fertilizers has increased air, soil, and water pollution. As well, these fertilizers have increased the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. More scientists are coming to the conclusion that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially children. Studies have shown that people exposed to toxic chemicals while working on farms often develop various forms of cancers later in life. Also, these chemicals are dangerous when stored around the house, contaminate the soil, and are difficult to dispose of properly.

Many of the fast acting fertilizers can stunt, burn, or kill your plants. When you choose eco organic gardening, you are helping to protect the environment. Natural organic plant food can restore healthy soil, improve seed germination, stimulate root growth, and reduce the need for synthetic chemicals. Natural plant foods such as Solay Simple Biodynamic plant food mix, is formulated with ingredients that come directly from nature. Nothing has been chemically altered or synthesized.


Certain plants are excellent in ridding the air of pollutants and toxins. Plants that rate highly as an indoor purifier include: Chinese evergreen, Areca palm, Reed palm, Dwarf date palm, Boston fern, Janet Craig dracaena, English ivy, Australian sword fern, Peace Lily, Rubber plant and Weeping fig.


When growing indoor plants and herbs, it is important to have knowledge of each plant’s needs for survival and success. For some plants, a sudden change in temperature, drop in humidity and too much or too little water, can hinder its growth. The following is a list of plants that are easy to grow indoors:

1. Weeping Fig Ficus benjamina: one of the hardiest of the indoor plants because it can survive during long periods of inattention.

2.  Braided Ficus Tree:  one of the most popular plants grown by indoor gardeners because it is easy to care for and adaptable

3.  Cactus Combo Bonsai:  with its unique plant forms, temperature and moisture adaptability, cacti are an attention-grabbing group of plants.

4.  Chamaedorea Palm: this plant will add a tropical decoration to any part of your home.

5.  Chinese evergreen: an excellent selection for beginners because it is a low-light lover and requires little maintenance.


Basil is a unique herb because it requires moist and rich soil. Cilantro, or coriander, a strong herb originating from tropical Asia, requires plenty of water and a warm environment. Mint is a flavoring herb with many assortments, tastes, and scents. Popular varieties include apple, spearmint, and peppermint. Oregano and marjoram are very similar and have often been mistaken for the other. Marjoram has a much milder taste than oregano. Sage, particularly common sage, is a main cooking herb, but most other members of the sage family have been used for cosmetic purposes.

Herbs need at least six hours a day of full sun as well as good drainage. Many scented herbs, such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme, originated on rocky hillsides in the Mediterranean where their roots escaped the hot and dry environment in cracks under large rocks. Although most of these herbs are not too dependant on soil fertility, the beds should be enriched before planting.


Eco indoor gardening techniques are less costly, easier to handle, and environmentally friendly. Indoor gardens not only provide health benefits to your home, apartment, or office, they are also an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.

Eco Gardening Products

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Birds in Pahrump

Nevada has over 450 species of birds that been registered as seen. Amazing when most think of state as a massive arid desert.

The State bird  is The Mountain Bluebird

Nevada State Bird

The Pahrump Valley is an amazing place for bird watching. Here on our homestead we have identified over 50. 
Will be posting them randomly as seen. There are six different feeders on property,  2 are filled with black sunflower seeds 2 with thistle (niger) and the other 2 are for hummingbirds. 

There are several hummies now nesting on the property. The best hummingbird feeders are the ones with red glass. Purchasing this kind saves money as you wont need to buy the red 'nectar" that is sold everywhere for like $5.00 bucks for a small bottle.

Amazon has a great red colored humming bird feeder for under $10.00 bucks

Here is the recipe for the 'nectar'

1/4 cup sugar 
1 cup of water
( you can double recipe and store remainder in fridge up to two weeks)

Bring water to boil. stir in the sugar and keep stirring until completely dissolved. Take off flame and let cool.
This sugar water must be completely chilled and stored in fridge for 3-4 hous befor using. You dont want it to ferment. That would turn to alcohol and be dangerous for birds.

Place feeder in shade. During southern Nevada's hot summers, changes solution very 5 days or so;

There are also several vines, shrubs, flowers and fruit trees growing that supply plenty of feed to our visitors.

Three watering stations set up which are simply  - buckets with the same irrigation line attached that waters our goats, 
ducks and chickens

Here are birds spotted on property this week this week:
Anna's Hummingbird, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Phainopepla, Gambel's Quail, Great-tailed Grackles, White-crowned Sparrows, Say's Phoebes, Northern Mockingbird, Western Bluebird, Brewer's Blackbirds
Red-winged Blackbirds, Verdin, Yellow-rumped Warbler's, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, Cooper's Hawk, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Common Raven, Red-shouldered Hawk,
Northern Flicker, Blue-gray Gnatcher, Black Phoebe

For more info on local birding visit

Friday, April 09, 2010

Growing business: More people buying veggie plants

Barbara Soderlin Journal staff | Posted: Friday, April 9, 2010 6:00 am

Brad Wilburn of Chadron, Neb., stopped by Nachtigall’s Greenhouse in Rapid City on Monday, ready to shop for the tomato, squash, Swiss chard, pepper and basil plants he hopes to grow in his garden this summer.

The only problem was he got there a little early — by about three weeks.

Inside the greenhouses, staff members were getting dirt under their fingernails transplanting the tomatoes, barely 3 inches high, from propagation trays into individual pots, where they will continue to mature before the greenhouse officially opens for the season.

Wilburn knew it might be too early, but said when the sun starts to shine, “The juices start to flow.” The contagious itch to garden has been a boon to area greenhouse owners, who say an increase in the number of home vegetable gardeners has boosted business during what have been slow years for other industries.

“I think I’m in one of the fortunate industries where the recession is actually helping,” said Carol Hallock, owner with her husband of Rockingtree Floral & Garden Center in Sturgis. “Last year was significantly more than the year before.”

That’s what Sid Nachtigall said he’s seen in Rapid City the past two years.

“There was a big pickup on vegetables last year,” he said, with people especially looking to grow staples such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers — relatively easy to grow compared with the expense at the grocery store.

Greenhouse owners say the recession has more people gardening because of the perceived cost savings at the supermarket and because of the resulting desire to stay home and cultivate their own gardens.

“I think in times of uncertainty, people tend to do things that make them feel more secure,” Hallock said. “One of those is being more independent. I think it has something to do with feeling secure and knowing you can grow your own food.”

That desire is showing up in places other than the vegetable garden, she said. People are also beautifying their lawns, adding landscaping and generally “making their house a home.”

Wilburn said he gardens just for the pleasure of it.

“It’s just enjoyable,” he said. “Some stuff just tastes so much better out of the garden.”

Greenhouse owners also say increased attention to health and food safety, such as first lady Michelle Obama’s organic White House garden, brings people outdoors.

“They know what’s been applied or not applied” when it comes to pesticides, said Tim Sime at Jolly Lane Greenhouse.

Sime said it’s not fair to count the home gardener’s labor in the cost of growing produce.

“That’s sort of a part of life, and if you’re enjoying doing it, then the time element is not a factor,” he said. Plus, think of the benefits. As experienced gardeners know, “It’s like therapy.”

With another boom year predicted for home gardens, Sime said Jolly Lane works to make sure new garden customers become repeat garden customers.

“That’s our job in the business, to make sure that the people that are new at it are successful enough that they don’t feel like, gee, that was a waste of time, I’ll just go back to getting it at the store.”

That means being  helpful with answers to questions about the right varieties, soils, sunlight and more.

“We try to get them all off and on the right foot so they have a good experience,” he said.

Contact Barbara Soderlin at 394-8417 or

Posted in Business, Local, Agriculture on Friday, April 9, 2010 6:00 am Updated: 5:30 pm.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Pahrump Nevada Hot Air Balloon Rides

Ballooning is becoming popular here in Pahrump and for good reason. The views of our valley from above are breathtaking.

A Great American Balloon Company located at 681 South Highway 160 provides thrilling rides. 

Rates are around 200 bucks per person and the offer sunset and sunrise trips

Call 877 WE DO FLY
(877) 933-6359

This seen from our homestead Saturday, April 2nd

Las Vegas Balloon Rides

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Growing Your Own Garden from Open-Pollinated Seeds and Heirloom Seeds

Growing Your Own Garden from Open-Pollinated Seeds and Heirloom Seeds,

Atlanta, Ga. 4/02/2010 12:05 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)
With the recent upheaval in the global financial markets there has been growing concern over the direction the world is heading. Every day we hear about another government bailout to aid a troubled company or industry and this push for continued government control has many people concerned over the level of involvement they are prepared to take.

As the financial crisis continues to mount people can expect to see the government’s involvement in other areas of life increase. One such area is in the government’s push to control the food supply and this involvement could not only result in critical shortages but also a dramatic rise in prices.

Now more than ever individuals are realizing that they must be prepared for a scenario in which grocery stores and markets will have empty shelves. Many of these people are uncomfortable with the idea that the government will take care of the problem, they want to know they will have the ability to take care of themselves as well as their families.

That ability lies in preparation and this comes in the form of a survival garden, something that will produce nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables during a severe food supply shortage. Understanding the importance of a survival garden is just one aspect of self-sufficiency though, you must be planting the proper seeds, seeds that are not readily available from most outlets.

Today’s food supply relies heavily on hybrid seeds, a genetically modified type that produces a crop but does not have the ability to reproduce itself. During a food crisis these seeds provide little assurance that you’ll be able to remain self-sufficient. That is why many people are turning to non-hybrid seeds and open pollinated seeds for their survival garden. These non-hybrid seeds have the ability to produce a crop and the seeds from those plants can then be used for the next planting.

These non-hybrid seeds are not genetically modified in any way and by saving some of the harvest seeds from year one you will have more than enough to plant for year two. Each “survival seed bank” produces thousands of pounds of nutrient-dense food for pennies per pound. Also included are detailed growing instructions for each variety which includes helpful information on harvesting of seed stock for the following year in a survival situation.

FEATURED: Mexican Miniature Watermelon -Melothria scabra

This plant is a native of the southern part of North America, where it is called "Sandita" (little watermelon). It is believed to have been a domesticated crop before western contact began.

The fruit is very tasty. They have the sweet cucumber flavor, followed a mouth-watering sourness that is almost addicting.

The plant climbs any trellis and are an addition to your lanscape.

Fruit can be pickled like a cucumber.

Take 50 days to harvest. They fall off vines when ready