Posted in Uncategorized

Sphinx Moth Caterpillars on Grapes…and into Chickens…maybe

DSC05507Achemon sphinx caterpillars (Eumorpha achemon) are huge, up to 3 1/2″ long and can eat up to 9 grape leaves a day, according to

Finding four, so far, on my vines, I realized:  thirty-six leaves a day…that would equal hundreds of leaves gone if left to browse for a week!

The site above advocates handpicking the caterpillars and dropping them in a bucket of soapy water, but of course, I thought I’d rather feed them to my chickens.

However, when I dropped the three I could find (Where did the fourth go?) into the chicken coop, the chickens backed away as if in horror.

DSC05518It’s not that they don’t like living things, as I’ve given them live mice, grasshoppers, and roaches, for which they go into a feeding frenzy.

But these they backed away from when they just wiggled.  Perhaps they were only unfamiliar?

I cut up the caterpillars with kitchen shears, and inside they oozed with green grape leaves half-digested – good food for the chickens, I thought.

When the chickens came close again, they still jumped away at the first wiggle of a caterpillar section!

DSC05495Below is a close-up of the Sphinx Moth Caterpillar – quite beautiful, I think, and so it was difficult to pick them, knowing I was sending them to their deaths, and again when I chose to cut them up.  But I’m sure they’ve laid plenty of eggs, and I’ll see their progeny next year.  Life will go on.


Meanwhile, back in the coop, the bravest old bird picked up a piece and the others followed her to watch.  It seems she ate it.  And soon the three were gathered ’round, considering….

A half-hour later, the caterpillar parts were gone.

Now, back to find the fourth one, and look for more.

See you next year, beautiful Sphinx Moth~


Posted in Uncategorized

Big Lizard, Beautiful Yarrow, Solar Cooking, Solar Tea, First Sunflower

Well, now I know what my cat has been so interested in around the pond!IMG_3641

When I found this, at first I thought it was a snake skin – until I saw the legs!

I love lizards and love to create habitat for them (lots of rocks) – which also means discouraging my cat from catching them, which I seem to have accomplished.

There is so much that’s beautiful in the garden these days, but one of my favorites has been the tansy.IMG_3615

I’ve been watching the flower buds change from nearly-white to pale orange, to darker orange, and deep salmon.

The very first medicinal herb I recall learning about – back in Louisville, Kentucky, in the late 70s, I believe – was the tansy.  I bought a tiny amount and, silly me, kept it in a jar as if it were gold to be saved for … I forget.  I probably threw it away after keeping it for ten years!!  Now, I learn that it has fallen out of favor with modern herbalists, not good for as many things as it used to be reputed to cure.  For now, I’ll just enjoy enjoy its beauty.

IMG_3732_2The first sunflower, in the early morning light, eight-nine feet tall!

Below:  solar cooking an apricot cobbler, made from gift apricots!  See Peaches hanging out beneath?

And, as always, making a few solar teas:  mineral tea from our local herbalist, peppermint tea from the garden, and lemon …. [verbena? – no, it was something else I can’t remember!… will fill in soon] gift from a friend also.

(I thought I was sacrificing valuable garden space to something less useful and valuable than vegetables, when I decided the garden and my erratic energy would best be spent on herbs, but now I’m realizing that the herbs I produce here, a dozen or more, are highly useful, and valuable, probably of more value than the few tomatoes I used to work SO hard for.  I’m delighted now to focus just on herbs.)

Blessings in your garden!  Make it a healing place for you, your spirit, your loved ones, friends, wild things, pet things, and the planet.IMG_3733


Posted in 1 Garden, 2 Home

Global Sun Oven has announced their newest Special!

IMG_3572Ah, let’s talk business in a moment….

First, we had a great time at the First Annual “Summer Solstice Solar Cooking Celebration” on Saturday, June 20, at the Silver City Art Market.

We had box cookers, like the Global Sun Oven I sell, and a home-made version made by one of the local pioneers of solar cooking – the mother of Susan Berry, who gave me the oven of steel and glass, made sometime last century!  It’s nice to have a bit of local history to share – especially apropos since Susan is the recently-retired director of the Silver City Museum.  Thanks so much, Susan!

SunnyCookerWithPyrexBowlsWe also had home-made parabolic cookers that can be taken camping!  Those were demonstrated by Asher Gelbart, of Green Energy Now, who’s doing great work in a lot of related areas far beyond solar cooking.  You can also find him on YouTube, Linked In, and Google+.  Obviously, I think he’s worth looking into, especially if you’re local.

And thanks to Art Market artist-vender Cedar Smith (pictured above, solar cook and maker of beautiful copper items for the home) for hosting this event at the Market!

Finally, if you‘re a solar cook in the area, or will be by next year, I encourage you to join us on the Summer Solstice (June 20th) at the Art Market in 2016!

(Oh yes, I brought three box cookers and completed two meals in each between 9 am and noon!  That’s the Summer Solstice for you – when the day is not only longest, but the sun shines most directly through the atmosphere, giving us the most powerful “solar gain.”  In 2004, I cooked five meals one after the other in a single oven in a single day – just to see what I could do on the Solstice.  Fun!)


Did you know the first solar oven was designed and used in the 19th Century?  Yes!  Horase de Saussure, a swiss naturalist, cooked fruits in a box that reached 190 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Foods just need 170-180 degrees to actually cook.)


So, Let’s keep on enjoying these benefits that can save us money, environmental destruction, and hot kitchens!

To that end, Global Sun Oven – a wonderful company that puts out a high-quality product and sends them to 127 countries around the world, especially those fighting deforestation – has announced their newest special:


If you buy a Sun Oven now (my usual “lowest price they allow me”:  $294.00 – includes shipping), you have the option to also purchase their “Preparedness Package” (value $99) for just $32.70.

The Preparedness Package includes:

* (my favorite) Stacking Cookpots of black granite-ware enamel on lightweight steel construction, designed to stack safely – with an enamelware lid and a glass lid (for when you want things to brown).
* a set of three dehydrating/baking racks with a roll of parchment paper
* two loaf pans which fit side-by-side neatly inside the oven
* a WAPI – Water Purification Indicator – which allows you to know when your water or other liquid has been pasteurized safely – before it reaches boiling, saving you fuel, time, and possibly uncertainty about safety, should your fuel run out or the sun sets – an important potential survival item
* a CD of 600 recipes, FAQ, videos, and more!

(If you have it delivered to anywhere in New Mexico, I will need to add tax.  If you’re having it shipped out of state, you’ll save that $20-some!  So when you buy your own, think of friends and family out of state.)

I’m also able to take credit cards now via PaypaypalPal – if you visit and we use my handy new card reader – or we’re friends and/or you trust me with your card information.  (Sorry that WordPress no longer supports PayPal buttons.)

To contact me, write jean7eisenhower (at), or call me at 575-534-0123.

Happy Summer Cooking!