Welcome to our weekly coffee date! How are you doing? How is your week? Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us!
This week got off to a sweet start, when I unexpectedly was surprised with these beautiful roses. I can’t remember when someone gave me roses the last time, and now at the end of the week they are still as beautiful as the day I got them!
I’ve been working as usual this week, but on my free time I’ve had a little project. That I’m also going to dedicate a big chunk of my weekend too. I’m learning about rainwater catchment systems, how to safely store water, and gardening methods that require less water. I live in the Mojave Desert right now. I have access to city water at the moment, and it’s relatively easy to have a garden when you have access to city water, but there is not an endless supply of water in the desert. My future homestead is also in the desert. It is not as extreme as it is here. The weather is more comfortable at 5400ft elevation, but water is still something more precious than gold.
I love this book, that is both beautifully made, and written in a way that makes you want to do your part in using our water responsively.
I want to learn everything I can about smart water saving methods for my garden. I’ve watched hundreds of Youtube videos, binge watched Homestead Rescue (some episodes are from the desert,) and I’ve ordered two books from Amazon that I’m studying. I feel that I have solid knowledge about growing crops (5 years of growing the majority of our food in California, along with gardening in cold climates growing up in Sweden,) but this aspect of using less water was something I needed to learn more about. I don’t think that I need to know everything, about everything, before I start my homestead, but knowledge is power, and I have the time to learn now. It would be stupid to not take take advantage of the opportunity.
Especially one of the books I bought Gardening with less water, by David A. Bainbridge, describes in depth the use of Olla’s. I’ve heard of it before, but now I feel more confident in using them. It’s basically clay pots that you bury in the garden, next to your plants, that slowly evaporates water to the roots. This books claims that you can save up to 90% water, compared to watering at the surface. That is nothing short of a miracle in the desert where every drop counts. I’m very excited about this idea. I can see myself using it in my raised garden beds, and big clay pots next to my trees. I was planning on planting trees at my homestead as soon as I can get it fenced in, (no point in doing it earlier, they would get trampled by free grazing cattle.) Now the ideas of planting trees, in a sustainable way, that would survive, even now when I live three hours away, seem very doable. When I dig the wholes for my trees, I simply dig them bigger, and bury a huge clay pot next to them. When I fill them with water, they will slowly water my young trees for weeks, without me doing anything. (In theory, but I think it could work. I’m going to start small, and document the process when I do it.)
In one of the episodes of Homestead Rescue that I watched they made a Waffle Garden, for a desert homestead. It’s basically a row of square cells, that you dig out, and plant in. The native used this method for hundreds of years. The thought is that when you have monsoon rains, your little cell fills with water for your plants. I am hoping to use this method, in combination with Ollas. I figure that it’ll likely work for the trees as well. The back end of my property is a little lower than the rest, and there’s a seasonal creek flowing there during rains (there is zero chance of the house site being flooded, it’s at the top of a hill.) I’m planning on planting my trees on both sides of where this seasonal creek flows. In combination with Olla’s, I believe they have a really good chance of thriving. I found a good article about how to use Olla irrigation here.
The pieces of the puzzles, that are going to be my homestead, is coming together more by the day. I’m thinking that when I have the excavator there digging for my septic tank, I should have them dig me a root cellar as well. I could frame it later myself, if the hole is already there. That would be a tremendous help for preserving food. When I do move out there, I’m going to be prepared for success. I know there will be hard work. Any gardening is hard work. I like it, but I also like being smart, and prepared.
Do you need a refill on your coffee?
My daughter is very eager to get chickens again, and we’ve been talking about that, and discussed designs for a chicken coop this week. I encourage her to learn everything she can about chickens. We have many ideas, but haven’t settled fo a design yet. (Still plenty of time.) A portable design would be kind of cool, that way they could fertilize different areas, but it has to be absolutely predator safe. I‘m guessing it’s easier to make a permanent chicken coop predator safe.
I am going to have the perimeter of the property fenced in with a sturdy fence. I’m planning on burying the fence 2ft underground, and have it 8ft high, with metal posts, sturdy livestock fencing, and barb wire on top, and underground. It’s going to be a project, and a big expense, but one of the first things I do. If we, our animals, and crops aren’t safe, then we’re working hard for nothing. There’s coyotes, mountain lions, free grazing cattle, and maybe even the occasional stray wolf. Mexican grey wolves was introduced into Arizona as a part of a preservation project, to keep them from getting extinct. (Wolves are not common in the area. There’s supposedly only 67 in the whole State of Arizona. Some say there’s more.) There’s also predatory birds, rattle snakes, and spiders. Lots to think about.
I don’t think there’s any bears around 😉 I have spent years living in bear, mountain lion, and rattle snake country. I’ve shot a few rattle snakes, and turned them into stew. They are not aggressive by nature, the ones I had to take out were provoked by a horse I had, that was overly curious about everything, and unfortunately loved playing with rattle snakes. The bears have never troubled me (we’re talking black bears, not big bad grizzly’s,) even though I have respect for them. I’ve picked black berries next to them. I’m more afraid of the enemies that aren’t easy to spot, like spiders, and wasps (that I am very allergic too.) The bigger predators you learn to coexist with. My German Shepherd would not let anything creep up on me. I’ll probably get another German Shepherd when we move to our property permanently. To me that is logical. LOL.
It is much easier to handle the high temperatures we are experiencing in Las Vegas now, having an interesting project like this to work on, even if it’s mostly in my head, and on my computer so far. I hope your week is fabulous! If you have a garden, how is it doing? Is it full summer in your area? Happy Summer Solstice!
PS. I am not an associate to any of the links I provided in today’s post, just information that I personally found useful.