nrcs squareYesterday we had a visit from Mr. Don Decker, NRCS District Conservationist and Malpie Borderlands Project Coordinator. That is one huge title to be toting around. I didn’t have the opportunity to spend any time with him because he came while I was at work, but he spent over four hours with Sue; walking the land, talking soils, vegetation, and best practices for conservation and working the land. NRCS stands for National Resources Conservation Services and is a service from within the United States Department of Agriculture. “NRCS provides America’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground, not only helping the environment but agriculture operations, too.”

We belong to the Hereford NRCD which is a Conservation District of NRCS. It was a natural partnership for us, to me, because conservation is one of the many aspects of Permaculture. Here’s a bit more on what they are about, from their website.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) draws on a long history of helping people help the land. For more than 80 years, NRCS and its predecessor agencies have worked in close partnerships with farmers and ranchers, local and state governments, and other federal agencies to maintain healthy and productive working landscapes. The NRCS history website seeks to tell the story of this work. Below, it links to publications on a broad array of topics, significant original documents, and galleries of photos that document soil and water conservation in the United States.


a shot of the “pasture lands” from below the RCW., taken this evening.

I was amazed at the number of topics Mr. Decker covered with Sue. They walked the entire property, checked out all of the soils; the native plants, trees, and grasses; some of the wildlife; looked at the chicken pasturing process; how we were trying to amend and simply keep the soil; and the efforts to recharge the aquifer. After 4+ hours of information download, Sue said her brain was sooo tired. She did share with me that he thinks, for the soil type that we have, we’re in good shape. We are doing the right things to amend and keep the soils. Our pasturing of the chickens is doing nothing to harm and everything to help the pasture. He gave Sue some great ideas for trees to add to our wind breaks, told her some of our bushes would have difficulty in the area, and he expressed incredulity about the Chestnut orchard. But – he also said that stuff he thought would never work in Arizona has taken off like gangbusters, and other things he thought would be a natural fit, did not work at all. This just goes to up hold our “experimental adventure” slogan. 🙂  Everything is an experiment, we know that some things will definitely not work out, but the things that do are just all the more glorious. I hope that we can invite Mr. Decker back in a year or two and show him the wonderful progress that we’ve made; with the Chestnut Orchard and with the land in general.

thank-you-300x200Rather than go into minute detail about his visit, I think I’ll just continue to add nuggets of Decker Wisdom as we talk about the projects and happenings each week. He covered so many subjects, there’s no way I could do them all justice. Keep an eye out for the information as we continue along our journey.
Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: Quite a beautiful day, even though it turned rather windy towards the afternoon. The high today was around 66°. Currently, at 6:42 p.m., it is 50° with 39% humidity. We are expecting an overnight low of 32° – we covered the garden on our way in from putting up the chickens. Today’s sunrise was at 7:18 and sunset was at 5:42. We were remarking how it is quite interesting that the sunrise time hasn’t varied much at all the past several days, but sunset moves many minutes at a time.

Egg Report: Thursday – 2 duck, 14 chicken.  Friday – 4 duck, 27 chicken. We are happy to report that some of the littles have begun to lay —- giving us cute green eggs. You can see our numbers have jumped quite a bit, just from one day to the next.  We’ll see if the pattern holds. So exciting to be close to spring and high egg numbers. (Yes, it really doesn’t take that much to excite me.)

Cool Thing: So the NRCS has a YouTube channel and they have some neat, short instructional and informational videos that you can watch. I’m just sharing one that I thought was cool. Hope you enjoy.