Thar be Puppies!

I just had to share with you my neighbors adorable teeny tiny itsy bitsy min-pin/chihuahua puppies. They hatched about a month ago and are all nippy and playful now. Last night when I got home from work, my neighbor asked if I would mind babysitting them for an hour or two. “What a silly question! Bring me the damn puppies you fool.” I exclaimed.

This was also the first time that Sasha, my husky-lab, had ever seen puppies so tiny. She didn’t know what to make of them at first and probably thought they were squeaky toys of the most excellent quality and realness. Until they began making dog noises. So here’s five minutes of pure innocent puppy joy for you. I hope it brightens your day!

There’s also this weird video of my giant floating face hovering over their mobile play-pen while the lighter of the two little ladies gets all up in my mustache. I think she wants to live there, of which I have no problem with.


the-end

The end.


My Secret Life as a Political Cartoonist Part I

Note: Some of these images are not appropriate for younger viewers or Republicans. Viewer discretion is advised.


There are many things you can say about the Bush Jr. years in this country. Especially in light of the current political state of affairs. Despite my personal political beliefs, one thing I can say is that George W. Bush is clearly two things.

my-life-as-a-political-cartooonist_george-bush-self-portraitFirstly, he’s one hell of a painter. I never thought I’d ever have anything nice to say about that man, but we are in the world of Trump now, so perhaps it’s time for healing. But damn, that mans paintings, particularly his self-portraits, actually impress the shit out of me.

The second thing about Bush, is he always gave me fuel for some wicked fun political cartoons! In fact, before his second term, every time I tried to draw John Kerry it always ended up looking like Herman Munster. The selfish and childish part of me was grateful when Bush got a second term because I had that shit-weasel down pat when it came to cartooning.

In light of the nature of this particular post, and it’s uncharacteristic deviation from all things urban farming, you will see some political cartoons that you may not agree with or you may find offensive. It is my recommendation that you get over this quickly because it’s coming in full force and there’s little you can do about it.

Apart from me writing this to allow you a deeper glimpse into all that is me, I also would enjoy having these images back on The Interwebs for posterity purposes. My old website as me as an artist is no longer up and all my paintings, drawings a photographs are now lost in The Matrix. So, let’s begin our journey of sharing by slapping these bad boys back online.


I began my cartooning career back in 2001. I was working at The Photo Factory in downtown San Diego and was having a bit of a existential crisis. You see, I went to college so I could be an artist. I ended up moving towards a photography degree as it seemed more economically viable than sculpture, painting or drawing. Although I love them all equally.

Around 2001 I was growing very weary of printing other peoples shitty photographs of trite and poorly exposed “tasteful” nudes. I reached out to the editor of The Espresso after seeing a tiny ad in the paper looking for an illustrator. We met in a coffee shop (of all places) and I brought some drawings of mine for him to look at.

I then told him of my crisis and said that I NEED to create again and he would be saving lives by allowing me an outlet to do so because I was about to lose my mind. Either he was impressed by my portfolio, or interested in preserving lives. Either way, he hit me with a project right away. A giant 11″ x 17″ full front page illustration for a feature article about Americas dependence on foreign oil and how it was indirectly funding terrorism. I mean this was above and below the fold here people. I’m talking bigly here. So here was my very first published illo.

my-life-as-a-political-cartooonist_the-gas-junkyIt took way longer than I had hoped and I was still coming into my own style of drawing under pressure. The old mayor of San Diego, Maureen F. O’Connor I believe, seemed to dig it though and requested a signed copy.  I think it was her and not the republican mayor after her. Regardless, it seemed I was off on the right path and all my homicidal existential angst began to melt away.

This started a nice five year side-career working with a few different publications. The Espresso based in Southern California, The Fahrenheit, a now defunct independent music and culture newspaper out of San Diego and The Beast out of Buffalo New York. Between my full time day job and three publications I was a happy busy lad.

Typically, I’d get a call in the early evening for an assignment and would have only several hours to have a completed giant drawing inked and ready for print. All those all-nighters were fuel for my aching soul and I loved every stressful moment of it!

Especially the artistic and uncensored freedom that illustrating The Beast gave me. Just gander at this gem from an article titled Bush Mayhem: Policies of a Moron

This is also the place where you’ll want the kids to be out of the room. Last warning, no more censorship from here on out. It should also be noted that not all of these reflect my political opinions. Although many do. If one really upsets you then it wasn’t my idea, I was only following orders.

Read More


Guinea Fowl Suck: The Foulest Fowl that ever Fouled.

Intro:

“Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.”

-William S. Burroughs (an excerpt from Thanksgiving Prayer)

Some other possible titles for this post were:

When Life Punches You in the Taint… or

My World of Shit

After I slept on it, I decided that I should perhaps be a little more cheerful. God knows that this country has had quite enough shock, disappointment and all around shabbiness lately. Enough to last a lifetime. And I still refuse to wax political here even in the face of all this. Mind Your Dirt should be a safe place. So I’ll ignore the very real possibility that all the environmental progress we’ve made (what little there was) is now going to fall apart and unravel like a cheap cable-knit sweater while Muslim-Americans are goose-stepped into massive interment camps. I digress.


Aside:

Oh you sweet and beautiful reader. My rock. My everything. I’ve missed you all so tremendously. As for you, you most likely fall under one of two categories. Either you’ve missed me every day while you sat by your computer waiting with baited breath for words of merriment and mirth or snapshots of fuzzy-butted chicken cuteness; or you didn’t even notice I was away for so long. Almost two months actually.

If you fall under the former category, allow me to explain a little. If you fall under the latter, kindly kiss my entire ass.

October rang in the third year of Mind Your Dirt. Did you get me anything? No, that’s okay. I didn’t get me anything either. What I did receive was only what I can describe as a shit-storm of wants and woes. While still recovering from my werewolf bite (my dog bite got upgraded since we last spoke), my car decided to kick me while I was down with a slew of visits to the mechanics that are still going on.

Then, I broke up with my girlfriend of five years. Which I really wanted to talk to you about, but then my laptop decided to commit suicide and I was simply of the mindset to say fuck it all. So I did in many ways. I unplugged from Mind Your Dirt because I couldn’t find much inspiration to write (or a laptop to write with even if I could) nor inspiration to work in the garden. Which was getting its ass kicked by the summer heat and drought anyways.

So please bear with me while I vent and gather what’s left of my strength and carry on. My laptop now has a brand new hard drive and is slowly being rebuilt with programs and such. I find myself well into my 42nd year of life and am thrown back into the dating pool kicking and screaming. Commercials and every song on the radio make me cry now as well, so that’s pretty sweet. I’m so grateful that I’m truly in touch with all my feelings and have been using these cathartic moments to bolster my soul. But, damn, I do miss my baby girl. I thought for sure that she was The One, you dig? But the decision was the right one to make and I am good at adapting and adopting. Shit, I said I wasn’t going to write about this. Oh well, you all know by now that my life is an open book. So here I am all raw and exposed for the world to see.

So, I’m here to say that I’m back, I’m resigned. I’d also like to say that in no time in the last couple months have I lost my cool or diminished my smile. Like all great tests in life, I know that this all will pass and there’s no justification for being grumpy or short-tempered with people. I’m soldiering on and taking it all in stride.


The Meat:

But that’s not what I’m hear to tell you about. I’m here to report on the recent release of my four guinea fowl into my urban oasis. In doing so, I feel like those before me that accidentally introduced an invasive species into a balanced ecosystem. Probably the way they felt with the cane toads in Australia. I’ve made a huge mistake.

They have been a loud and destructive force in the yard for the last month. Eating plants and tearing up every bed and path I’ve so carefully crafted over the past four years. Every time I went out into the back yard to try to find some motivation, it would always end up the same way. I’d discover some new destruction or a fresh pile of guinea shit to step in and I’d just stop and stare at these ugly bastards with only one thought in my head.

“How to kill them?!”

They must be able to sense this, because they typically follow me all over the place waiting for a handout of some kind. But when I begin to go over the practical steps needed for their destruction, cleaning, and cooking they tend to back away slowly. Which is wise, because I WILL be killing them shortly.

guinea-fowl-up-on-the-roof

Read More


Help!! My Plant is Healthy!

That’s not a phrase I usually cry in despair and self-loathing, but it was today. I’ve been side-eyeballing my potted ficus on the front lawn in a very un-trusting manner for that last few months. Shiny leaves with a lush and deep green happy vigor and an ever expanding crown reaching towards the heavens are usually a really good sign. But this tree is in a pot that’s way too small for such growth.

help-my-plant-is-healthy-2_something-isnt-right

There is a very good reason for such a limiting pot. It’s not because I hate this tree or wish to see it stunted or sad. It’s because the location I chose for this ficus is directly over my sewer lines going out into the street. As illustrated in this high-tech 3D rendering of the “brown line express” (oh, how crass!).

sewer-lines-2

The poop evacuation route. Well, the second evacuation route actually.

As a homeowner, you can imagine how costly it would be to have some root invasion for this essential poop escape highway! Like several grand to replace these pipes. And the last thing I want is any backing up or flooding in the house to let me know that I have made a grave error! Gross and costly are not my favorite combinations! Gross and cheap is okay in a pinch. Read More


Donald Trump’s Hair Lives in my Backyard!

I’ll bet you didn’t know that once Donald Trump is done after a busy day of being the nations Orange Hitler, he likes to come home and relax. Let his hair down if you will.

Orange Hitler and his escaping hair creature.

Orange Hitler and his escaping hair creature.

The problem is, once his hair is down, it leaps off his skull and meanders its way to my backyard. Once it’s here, I like to call it Piper the silkie hen. One of my prized chickens. And I feed her and love her more than any other chicken/douchebag hair piece I’ve ever known.

I try oh so hard to not get political on this gardening blog. Mostly because you didn’t come here to hear the rants that I typically reserve for the poor saps that are around me all day long. I try to keep Mind Your Dirt and James Gielow ever so slightly separated. Sometimes things slip through the cracks. Like today when I caught Piper taking the most adorable dirt bath ever. She was just happy as a pig in shit to be digging and scratching and slathering filth all up in her fuzzy britches. It’s what chickens do to get any mites or critters out of their feathers.

When Piper does it, she likes to make little purring sounds like Gizmo from the movie Gremlins. And then my heart turns to jelly. But today I could’t help but see her as a sentient Donald Trump Hair-Beast and I began giggling. And then crying. Both for slandering my innocent little cutie pie fuzzy butt, as well as the current state of the nation where we have a choice between Orange Hitler and Grandma Nixon for president. But as Jefferson said, “We are given the government that we deserve” and this current situation is a reflection on what “we the people” have allowed to happen.

Now as we stand upon the threshold of The End Times©, I can’t help but wonder what part I’ve played to bring us here. I try so hard to live a decent and honest life full of honor and virtue as well as be a strong steward for all creatures great and small. When I think about it too much, I get a giant headache. Then I go outside and look at something beautiful. Something like this:

So imagine my dismay when Trump’s hair visions began creeping into my head. I feel molested, pooped and demoralized. My only solution is to watch the above video over and over again until the evil vision leaves me be. I recommend you do the same. Just listen to that cute purring and cooing. UGH! My heart is jelly again.

Post Script:

I’m sorry that I have been less than present here on Mind Your Dirt the last few weeks. You see I was actually hospitalized from a dog bite two weekends ago. Nothing too major but my dominant hand has been out of commission and my dominant brain has been hopped up on goofballs for the pain. I’ll bring you a note from my doctor. Dr. Huy Ho. I shit thee not. My doctor is a song from a Disney cartoon. Jealous? He is the best doctor I’ve ever had by the by. I digress.

donald-trumps-hair-lives-in-my-backyard-3_sasha-and-noe

Sasha the mighty husky lab got into a fight with Noe the cow dog beast over the matter of ownership of a stuffed husky cuddle monster. I tried to intervene as I have health insurance and my dog does not. A matter of economics. Well, Noe wasn’t too keen on my getting in the middle and proceeded to sink her back teeth into and through my right ring finger. Fantastically powerful pain and suffering ensued and I’m still not able to do much with my right hand. No stitches were applied as the finger meat was far too tore up for anything to sew to anything else. Want to see photos? I didn’t think so.

I never lost my cool during the entire episode, however, and even spent time to comfort Noe and make sure that she and Sasha were wound free. They were thank goodness. I then played a game of Wits and Wagers with my house guests, built a roaring fire for the making of S’Mores and waited until all guests left. When I tried to go to bed I finally admitted that to fall asleep with the loss of so much blood and the presence of so much pain would be extremely stupid. A sentiment my wise girlfriend and her sister echoed hours before. So what, I’m a stupid man. Big deal.

At 11:30 p.m. Nury and I visited the hospital for a lovely six and a half hour visit of waiting, poking and scrubbing. Good times!! Oh yes, and a healthy $100 copay. Here’s me in the throws of pain and suffering. Feel free to have this enlarged and framed with a caption underneath reading “Lesser Mustachioed Douchbag”.

donald-trumps-hair-lives-in-my-backyard-2_me-in-the-hospital

Regardless, I have a slew of unwritten posts up inside my drug-addled  melon, I just need to get them all down as well as take the subsequent associated photographs to bring you added visual delights. Please bear with my recovery and endeavor to do your best to not be around me for the next full moon! I get…bitey.


The Poop of the Night Beasts

My curtained sleep provides the creatures of the night free range for all manner of comings and goings. Small festive gatherings of much rejoicing and regaling as fuzzy butts dance and twirl and feast. They laugh and mock the stupid giant hairless ape inside that cave-thing as he snorts and farts. His slumber filled with naive and peaceful dreams. For these night beasts know what the stupid ape-thing will discover in the morning. That tonight is for them.

Tonight they will feast.

Poop of the Night Beasts_WaterfallMy fish had dreams as well. They dreamed of crunchy bits floating on the waters surface, jostling about from the steady cascade of well manicured waterfalls. They dreamed about the next days activities. Like, “let’s all go swim over there now. I think there may be a crunchy bit over there that we missed when we were there five minutes ago”.

I’ve once been told by an old wizened  sailor that fish never truly sleep; that they always keep moving. That sailor was eaten by a shark and is now shark poop. Should’ve heeded his own advice that dark and stormy night off of the Southern coast of Africa. So it goes.

Regardless of Old Stumpy McStinktrout and his unfortunate skinny dipping episode, these fish had dreams! And now they are poop. The poop of the night beasts. So it goes.

Read More


James and the Giant Atomic Death Robot!

For those that know me well you are fully aware, and hopefully fully prepared, for my many attempts at Total Global Domination. I have asked all my scientist friends over the years to aid in my noble efforts in one form or another. I’m looking at you Marty Cowles! Your delivery of one thousand mutated chimpanzees with backpacks loaded with two ferrets are late by the way!

There are a few ways to become a true mad scientist. One obvious one is to be insane AND be good at science. I’m halfway there. Another is to be crazy rich and have your own island fortress of doom. I’m way off from that!

A third path, and the one I’ve been following, is to hang around people that can get you part of the way. Collectively you can reign supreme. Eventually!


Well today, dear readers, I have moved one giant step forward towards my goals! On eight giant legs. I have driven the coolest giant atomic death robot ever! A complete dream come true!! Before I show you the video, perhaps some backstory is in order.

Read More


Teeny Tiny Fuzzy Nuzzlin’ Baby Guinea Keets!

They’ve finally hatched!! Tiny fuzzy squishy fluffballs dripping with cuteness. They beckon me from the spare room with itty bitty peeps and fuzzy nuzzles. I resist the urge to chew on them. What’s with that anyways? Why do I always want to chew on adorable little things? Is it just me? Is there some evolutionary advantage to that instinct? *Nomnomnom*

Regardless, now that Bernie and Hen Solo are finally laying eggs and are part of the main flock and Piper is all happy in her new bully-proof coop, I must admit to succumbing to a little bit of the empty nest blues. So I called upon my friend over at East County Zoo. If you live in the Southern California area and are looking for an amazing breeder, look no further than Aaron over at East County Zoo! Every bird I’ve got from him has been happy, healthy and shiny! Just look at these cuties!!!

Read More


Enter the Dragon: A Time-lapse of a Dragon Fruit Flower Blooming

I may have mentioned once or twice that more times than not, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I write Mind Your Dirt not so much as an expert, but as someone willing to learn and inspired by that learning. Growing dragon fruit apparently is no exception to this rule.

I was given some clippings about four years ago from a friend. I had dreams of eating my own weight worth of juicy dragon fruit (pitaya) almost instantly. This magical and mysterious fruit was aptly named.

Pitaya Cross Section.

Pitaya Cross Section.

It does indeed look like a dragon egg. Not that I’ve seen many in my lifetime, but this is what I would expect to see were that to change. Read More


Taylors of Harrogate’s Grand Beedabest Hotel

Tip top and Bristol fashion

Bristol Fashion

In order to write this one properly, I had to get myself tip top and in Bristol fashion. You’ll know why soon. Cheerio!

Since I began Mind Your Dirt back in October of 2014 there have been so many wonderful connections made from all over the world. People of like-mindedness and equal fervor in global stewardship have reached out to share ideas or simply talk shop. I’ve helped a woman in Mozambique find a way to save her coveted coastal coral tree. I’ve received amazing support from students at the University of California San Diego. I’ve had countless amazing correspondences with so many people in need of inspiration, tips, or just to talk shop. My recent post about the poor monarch butterfly needing a new wing has created an outpouring of support from the scientific community as well as families around the world all determined to come up with a design and material for synthetic prosthetic wings. Very cool!

I’ve been so energized to continue this little experiment by so many of my readers and there’s no signs of it slowing down. So thank you one and all. For your support, your guidance and just for being you! I love you all dearly. I’m writing this today because another amazing connection has been made through Mind Your Dirt.

Last week I was contacted by a representative of Taylors of Harrogate.

Bettys and Taylors of HarrogateTaylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire-based family business devoted to the craft of outstanding tea and coffee since 1886. Tea experts at Taylors of Harrogate have decades of experience in seeking out the very best teas from the top gardens in the world and skilfully blending flavour-packed fruits and herbs to create beautifully balanced infusions. Using premium ingredients carefully sourced by Taylors and certified by the botanic experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Taylors of Harrogate Fruit and Herbal Infusions range and Green Tea range are both blended to deliver pure and natural flavour. Taylors is proud to be a founding member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which helps producers meet internationally recognised standards.

Taylors of Harrogate has just completed a wonderful project that promotes the care and conservation of pollinators. Specifically honey bees. They’ve just released this campaign today and they’ve asked Mind Your Dirt to collaborate on their amazing project! What providence.

They stumbled upon my post about making your own bee hotel and wanted me to join the cause. Which is quite an honor for little ol’ me. But it says a lot about the changing tide of good stewardship that I keep raving about. It gets me all excited. By the way, if you missed that post, check it out!

We Have a Vacancy: Building a Bug Hotel for Solitary Bees

If building your own bee hotel doesn’t suit your fancy (although I can’t imagine why, I had so much fun making mine!) there are many places to buy one for your yard! Here’s a few… (shameless plug warning)



Taylors of Harrogate partnered with Kew Gardens (who can boast the worlds largest collection of living plants by the way) to created something that is nothing short of spectacular! They’ve built the most amazing luxury bee hotel ever! Also while creating great a homage to Wes Anderson. It makes my hotel look like a decimated flea-ridden two bit motel. But I don’t mind being shown up for such a wonderful cause. Although, admittedly, I may have another agenda here.

You see, I have two hopes for this collaboration. First and foremost, to help spread these conservation efforts into everyone’s backyard and provide safe heavens for these essential pollinators. But also to come one step closer my lifelong dream of getting knighted! Anything to garnish attention towards that impossible dream would be smashing! Partly because I’d like to be referred to as Sir James Gielow, but I also want a sweet sword! Does it come with a sword? I know, I know: silly colonists can’t be Sirs. I can dream can’t I?

I digress m’lords and ladies! Back to tea and bee hotels! Just take a look at the video they’ve made that shows the Grand Beedapest Hotel. Prepare to have your mind blown!… Read More