Cross Section of Swale for Food Forest

In the last post, I briefly mentioned bioswales as a way for us to keep water on the property and, hopefully, help water our olive grove and “food forest” (see the illustration at right for a better idea of the swale concept as it is used in water harvesting).  Some time ago, Sue had found a retired surveyor to come out and help her find the land contours to plot out the long swales and capture the most water utilizing the slope already available. Mr. Jaxel is the surveyor’s name (he’s done so much work around Hereford, they named a street after him!), and he became quite interested in what she was proposing.  After the surveying was complete, he mentioned that he could help her when it came time to use the backhoe to dig out the swales. Well, Friday I came home and saw Mr. Jaxel and Sue out by the Dinky House garage, standing behind the tractor, tinkering. So, of course, I went to take a look at what was happening.
They were removing the mower deck from the tractor in preparation for attachment of the backhoe!  Mr. Jaxel had some time and came to show Sue the ins and outs, ups and downs of doing this new phase in tractoring. The yellow apparatus at the bottom of the photo is the mower deck, now detached. I saw that this was going to be a complicated process, so I promptly left to make lunch. 🙂 When I came back, the tractor had moved to the swale area of the pasture and Sue was in the driver’s seat beginning to dig! Mr. Jaxel was keeping a close watch on the proceedings and admonished me to not get too close. Sue looked back-hoe-2like she knew just what she was doing and when I shared thatback-hoe-1 thought, Mr. Jaxel winked at me and said, “Don’t worry, she’ll get better.” As he took over for a minute, prior to re-positioning the tractor, I could see that he had spent many hours behind the controls of a backhoe. He made it look so simple. I was still very proud of Sue for what she was able to accomplish and, with practice (there will be many opportunities for practice), I know she’ll be a pro in no time. Then I can learn!  It just looks so darn fun. So, John S. and Candace C.~ still want to come and learn some tractoring?  We’ve got lots of earth to move! Actually, that invitation is open to any of our friends or family. We’d love to have you visit and see what we’re doing first hand, maybe take a turn on the backhoe… at the owner’s discretion. Until then, as always,
Thanks for reading!

Today’s weather:  Very cloudy and extremely windy. It was 35° when we got up this morning and the high was supposedly 57°, but it never really felt like that.  Currently (8:12 p.m.) it’s raining with some lightening and thunder.  We’re supposed to have a chance of snow down to 6500′ (we’re at approx. 6800′).  If it snows, I’ll post photos on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WAAP2. Please “like” us if you haven’t already… we put different info and photos up there on a more regular basis.

Egg report: Two!  We’re back to two one day, one the next.  Since they’ve moved into the permanent coop, they’re having trouble deciding exactly the best place to lay, so we’re finding them here and there. Today’s were in a little hay nest behind the screen door. It’s a mini egg hunt each day!