When the weekend started off, we were hoping to be able to do a Special Report on the Sonoita Vineyards, as we had tickets to attend the 2017 HarvestFest. We did attend and had a really lovely day to visit. We were able to get a quick lecture on the wine-making process, taste some great, good, and ok wines (by our palates), and enjoy some delicious food pairings; however, when it came time to tour the actual Vineyard, we were unable to do so because of the hard rains they had been receiving the previous days. We were told that it would be very difficult for a tractor alone, at this point, to get up through the vines due to all the wash outs, let alone one pulling a trailer with people in it. So, we’ve resolved to go another time and see if we can’t get a tour – perhaps on foot. Then we’ll be able to do a much more in depth report on vineyards in the high dessert. Let’s go on to other weekend happenings then…. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, I was tickled to find out that the behavior we’ve always noted with chickens- having a hen or the rooster give vocal cues for good little tidbits they find- is actually called “tidbitting”. I thought I’d use it here as a title, because all I have for you today are tidbit updates. The first one is… our view from the back porch into Mexico. We’re hoping that those rain clouds come up the valley and give us some moisture. As I type this, the rain is now in front of that mountain range and perhaps heading in our direction. One thing is for certain, the thunder is getting more prevalent. Let’s take a look at what else has been going on. Continue reading
We’ve talked a bit about planting out trees, bushes, and up-potting the seedlings. This flurry of work has been going on because we’re right in the midst of monsoon season. Sue took this photo out at the Goat Boys’ last week, but you can see how we’re beginning to green up. around the house it looks like we have this wonderful lush lawn, especially right after Sue mows in the morning. Our pastures are full of green grass interspersed with what we believe to be, wild white alyssum. It is leggier than the sweet alyssum you see in most gardens and doesn’t grow quite as clumpy. There is one stalk and flowers bloom on the top third. I think it looks really pretty though. Continue reading
This past week, I went up to Sedona for work and, as I was driving up the I-17 above Phoenix, I saw this freeway sign for Arcosanti Rd. This is what I said out loud: “Arcosanti? Is that THE Arcosanti? Is that here? I studied that in college. Can we go? Is that it?” Having no one with me who knew what the heck I was talking about, I waited to google it when I arrived at my destination. Guess what? It was! It was THE Arcosanti! Well, if you follow our Facebook Page, or saw the blog from last Friday, you know that it truly was. I was so excited to visit! Continue reading
Ok, yes I’m still out goofing off in Sedona. Meanwhile, back at the Ranch… Sue has been working away, in between rainstorms anyway. I understand that today we had a really heavy storm. The water tank was filled to overflowing! It’s really good that we’re finally getting some heavy rains. We want that to deep water all the trees as much as possible. And be able to help replenish the aquafer in our area that supplies our well. This is why we’ve been talking so often about the importance of keeping the water on the land as much as possible, rather than having it run down the road and away from the property. I’m so happy that it’s raining! It does tend to put a damper on the projects though. Although, if you know Sue, you know there are still things going on. Continue reading
As I write this (Tuesday evening), it’s thundering quite loudly overhead and all around. We can see the rain washing over the mountains across the border and over the Huachucas just behind us. We’re hoping that in all the clouds’ wanderings, they’ll see fit to drop some rain on us! The lightening is so intense right now, we went out and shooed all the birds in. It rained a little bit, but not enough to really wet anything down. This photo is from Monday, see the peak to the left that isn’t getting any rain? That where we are. The weather is not cooperating with our schedule.But that’s not what’s goofing off… I am. Continue reading
Lots of little odds and ends were worked on over the weekend, so we’ll do a point by point update today and just see how far we get.
We took some time this weekend to plant out trees and bushes that we’d been waiting to plant until the rains came. Well, the rains are a bit hit and miss right now, but we’re hoping they get more and more prevalent. So, this weekend (and today) we planted 6 bushes and four trees. By the garden gate we planted two Forsythias on either side along with a Black Locust at each end. If we can get a goodly number of bushes and trees along the fence lines, it will help with the winds. The trick will be keeping them from desiccating before they’re big enough to stand on their own. Continue reading
Yes! One year ago, Sue set out in her Beverly Hillbilly loaded truck with the dogs and cats, to get out here by the time the moving truck made it. What an interesting year it’s been. Since then, to our three dogs, two cats, and one hedgehog, we have added : over 50 chickens – some made it, some did not; a huge coop to keep them all; two chicken tractors; one chick-shaw; two goats; an untold number of yards of manure (of all different kinds); yards and yards of compost; many fruit trees; several bushes; two berm and swale areas; the inverted Hügelkultur semi-circle; a water tank; an amazing tractor; electricity to the Dinky House; water to the fields; and that’s only the beginning. We’ll see where the next year takes us, until then~ there’s always the next project!
Speaking of that… This week Sue added to the one large Chicken Tractor, to make it more usable out in the fields. It was the one that we sat directly on the ground and would often use for day outings for the chicks as they got older. We also housed Lily’s chickens there during their quarantine time. However, during the monsoon season, we wouldn’t be able to do that because it would flood out and they’d be in the water and mud. So one day Sue and I flipped it over to make it easier for her to work on it during the week, in the mornings, before it got too terribly hot or started to rain. What Sue ended up doing was adding some cross pieces for stability, stapling on chicken wire, so they won’t fall through and so the larger critters
can’t get at them, and then putting on some legs to raise it off of the ground. What we’re hoping to be able to do is create a few semi-permanent chicken areas out on the pasture land and put them out there as weather permits, to eat the bugs and the grasses, till up the land a little bit and add their manure to help replenish things. We’ll still use the electric fencing to keep predators away, especially since they will be further away from the house. Soon we’ll try our first five, out by the Dinky House and near Dustin and Alexis. There are a lot of bugs our that way, so the chickens should have a good time with that!
This weekend we hope to accomplish several things, but it always depends on the weather. Belle needs to go to the shot clinic and get her rabies up to date. Sue is going to take Dustin to the Farmers’ Market in Bisbee so he can sell his jewelry (some of his pieces are simply amazing! Take a look.), we may be able to finish the circle garden – I’d still love to add some standing stones- and then plant, I also want to work on the flower bed at the end of the deck; I need to add some brickwork so that the dirt doesn’t continue to wash under the deck and pile up against the house. Who knows what will actually happen, but whatever it is, we’ll certainly let you know about it right here! Until then, as always~ Thanks for reading!
Today’s Weather: rather cloudy with rain on and off this evening. Last night we had a great steady rain for a long period of time. This are really beginning to green up here!
Egg Report: Yesterday we had another 11 egg day. Today: 7.
This is kind of a funny little tidbit. If you’ve been reading the blog for a time, you know we’ve had this issue with the chickens laying eggs in the walls. It got really out of hand when two of the Buffs went a little broody and the whole corner tarp – that was holding in the hay insulation that Sue had stuffed between the studs this winter – simply came off the wall. Everyone was standing in line to lay their eggs
in what we termed the Broody Corner, AND if the line wait was too long for this favored spot, they would just lay their eggs any ol’ where under the roosting spots. Sometimes they would bury them and you’d have to go rooting around in the hay to find them, or worse you’d just smush them as you stepped through the coop on your daily Egg Hunt. Yesterday, Sue had had enough! Plus, that’s a place that the ducks really would like to nest at night, but the tarp makes it difficult for all three hens to be together. So- some Broody Corner Clean-up was served today. Continue reading
This was a quiet weekend. Not that we didn’t do things, but that it was just kind of “more of the same”. Saturday we gave the chickens more room to roam by combining two fences and pulling them out as far as possible – they seemed to enjoy the new territory. Then we worked on planting out the blackberry bushes under the shade of one of the oak trees, and getting ready to plant out others, into pots, as well. We’ve been collecting horse, goat, cow, and burro manure, along with household scraps and coffee grounds, for a while now, and composting them in bins made from pallets; I mixed up 2/3rds compost and 1/3 dirt for a potting mix/soil additive to use on the plants. By 2pm, I was just done. It was so hot and beginning to get a little muggy, so we simply finished off doing the normal chores and called it a day. We weren’t really expecting rain until midweek, but that night we had some sprinklings… just a taste of what was coming. Continue reading