Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Too Busy to Blog! or My Once a Year Post!

As bloggers, we suck.
This little acre+ parcel and our high-input lives keep us very busy.

We continually work on fire suppression-which means keeping all vegetation-or at least dry vegetation away from the house and other outbuildings. My small flower and stinky garden continues to grow. There are some small areas that we keep a bit of lawn (now nearly 1/2 sweet grass) so the non-sweetgrass part gets mowed.
We have fenced the last side of our triangle, and then fenced the entire thing with plastic chicken wire, mostly to keep small animals out, and our own cats from going on "walkabout".  There are so many different wild animals about, and we've already lost one furball to a mountain lion (we believe) so we're doing everything we can to keep our animals safe.
Recently we've seen what looks to be a cross between a bobcat and a domestic cat (yes they do crossbreed), numerous coyotes, dear, turkeys, and one very large feral hog. We have a game we play when we see a hog-we try to sneak up on it as close as possible and then I like to SQUEAL at it really loudly. They will usually run away like they've seen a ghost pig or they think you're out of your mind. Country entertainment at it's finest!

There is also a lot of bird life out here. I'm not one for categorizing and photographing but I see a lot of different kinds, some very unusual and hear lots of birdsong during the day, and owl calls at night. And our local hawk finally seems to have a partner and they've settled in the area. It's nice to see the two of them flying around together.

We've also been working on renovating parts of our old mobile home. Not because we fancy high-end toilets or anything, but because the kitchens and bathrooms really really needed help. They were pretty gnarly. So the last two winters we worked on indoor projects when it's been too cold to be out. Last winter we did the kitchen which is wonderful and we just finished the master bathroom. My one splurge was a 6 foot bathtub, really only because I'm getting older and some days my bones hurt so bad I need a giant vat of hot water to soak in. I felt bad about the water use, but Alder has created a wonderful graywater and it has lots of happy edible plants. The plants in this graywater are edible because the water coming from the bathtub is very clean, where the laundry and kitchen graywater's are more water loving non-edible plants. We have one closet and a half bath left to go. I am redesigning a few things in this space simply to make sure that we are using every inch of available space for storage and putting it to good functional use. We will also have to change out all of the flooring eventually, because the previous owners put down terribly inexpensive, basically cardboard and laminate flooring and it's already buckling. Any water spilled on it causes more buckling. We're replacing it with inexpensive vinyl mostly because it's easy to clean up.

Alder has been continuing to improve the gardens, plant asparagus, replace a few trees that didn't make it, and he built three raised metal beds that have been wonderful for carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes etc. He has been working on getting to know the local bounty (acorns) intimately-which he's going to share about here on this blog soon. He continues to improve and work on drip irrigation, chicken arrangements, and eventually we hope to fence off about a third of the land so we can have a couple of sheep-more for fire suppression than anything-they're beautiful lawnmowers.

Speaking of using sheep for fire suppression, it's interesting that that one feral hog seem to selectively root all along our fence, which makes a wonderful firebreak and I also noticed that the chickens have been scratching on our side of the fence also making a wonderful firebreak. The idea of "animals doing what they do" and working WITH us is kind of awesome. Interconnected systems function!

It is so beautiful and quiet out here, and I would not trade it for anything. I guess the Universe seemed to know what I needed and gifted me with it, and I am extremely grateful. This place is so full of peace and I can see the mountains out my window-I watch them change daily...I can't ask for anything else.
We've beaten the "asparagus curse"....It's happened twice before that when we start asparagus from seed and grow them to about 2 year old, one gallon pots, we seem to move. That's happened twice before. But this time Alder planted them. They are in the ground. Rooting. As are we. We have also, by now, broken another curse. My last two long-term relationships lasted approx. nine years, and by that time in each of those, I was ready to cut and run. So I must have mellowed a great deal, learned a lot, and found a bit of humility, as well as another strange pea to share my pod, because Alder is a keeper, and our relationship is good, and settled. Rooted.

That's life on the farm. One year summed up in a few paragraphs. Now you see why I post once a year?

Peace.

Isabel



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