Morning’s eclectic chores…

I needed to fix the front door of Gitmo today. The door frame never really was based on much, since originally there wasn’t one at all, and it withstands quite a lot of pressure from the wind. Except when it fails to withstand it…
About halfway through what was supposed to be a really simple job I decided I just hadn’t brought the right tools or materials from the Lair. So we drove back, and I told the boys to stay in the Jeep which didn’t bother them at all. But by the time I got back to the Jeep with what I needed it was very clear it was just too hot for them in there. So they went for treats and a nap while I drove off to finish my morning biz. They didn’t even argue.

Good thing I did that, too, because we ran into a bovine traffic jam that would have had Little Bear leaning on the horn and yelling out the window.
I think this is the same pair I ran into last week. She sees no reason not to stop right on the road to let Sonny boy plug in, but then when you stop to wait for her she gets nervous.
Then she wants to move, but Sonny Boy is having none of it. This is serious business, and he will not be distracted.
But at some point she has just had enough of waiting for that ugly yellow thing to smash her flat, and she’s outa here. He can come or not, whatever, she can make another one that looks just like him.

I wanted to fix that door today, because tomorrow I need to go to the ophthalmologist in the big town about 50 miles away. Since Gitmo is empty of chickens at the moment, it’ll be more comfortable for the boys to stay there and I don’t have to worry about LB getting nervous at his long abandonment and smearing … well, let’s just say I think we’ll all be more comfortable with the boys in Gitmo.

But it was just as well I took them home when I did, because the next chore was at S&L’s place and I did not want Ghost along while I did that one. Might put Badthought into his head.
They’re all moved in, but still working on the house. I do believe that was the plan all along. S, in any case, will need big projects to work on till the day he dies. I wish I had more of his work ethic.
Inside the wall they have a vestpocket paradise planned. Which is where I come in; mostly they’re planting with succulents, but quite a few of their plants still need regular watering. A week gone is too long.
Nice view from the porch, huh?
Then on the way back toward the Lair I stopped at the cistern to open the valve that waters Ian’s few remaining trees.
Sadly, I conclude that the ‘fruit trees in the desert’ thing has not worked out well. Not when you consider that these three trees are all of Ian’s plantation that still survive. And that they’re five years old, and still look like saplings.

If you’ve been around since then you may recall that the procedure for planting these things was rather…involved. We stinted nothing, including a massive soil amendment project.

And we’re just no closer to getting actual fruit than we were five years ago.

And neither are any known neighbors who tried the same thing, so it’s not just us. In fact nobody I know of went to such lengths as we did, and nobody succeeded. It’s kind of a disappointment. But still, we water them every year from Spring to Monsoon, which is barreling round the bend as we speak.

I do expect to be gone most of tomorrow though, so I needed to get the watering done even if it does rain this afternoon.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to Morning’s eclectic chores…

  1. MJR says:

    I can sympathize with the fruit trees at Ian’s place. I have a thumb that is nowhere green. I plant it and it dies. I’ve even killed a cactus before giving up on that foolishness. Luckily for me my other have works wonders in the garden so long as I leave it alone. All she will “let” me do is weed and water where she tells me to.

    The cow pics brought an old saying to mind… To err is human, to moo… bovine.

  2. Zelda says:

    I think you can have a fruit orchard with a few minor (major?) changes in how you plant and what you plant. What I would have done differently is put the trees in 6 to 12 inch deep basins instead of flat on the ground, or planted them in hugelkultur beds, easy for you to make because you have big mechanical equipment. You or Ian or Landlady can read more than you’d probably like to know about hugelkultur on the Internet, but with horse and cow and chicken manure sources and all the other Stuff you might otherwise haul to the dump, I think it’s your answer to a successful fruit orchard. Sepp Holzer has implemented more successful re-vegetation of desert land than anyone else. He knows how. And – all fruit trees are not created equal. You have to choose carefully to get either standard trees that can tolerate heat or grafted trees on rootstocks that can tolerate low water inputs and heat. Buying fruit trees at WalMart won’t work for you. What you/Ian/Landlady want to do is very certainly possible, has been successful elsewhere. Hope you will reconsider, start over with different methods, and not give up.

  3. jon spencer says:

    Some (but not all) figs seem to do well in a desert climate, might be worth a try.

  4. bravokilo says:

    I mentioned figs when Joel started his own orchards.
    Are you sure the roots are getting oxygen? I have the same-ish conditions as you. I keep a steel poker around for venting.

  5. Joel says:

    BK, they really should be. We really worked at making real soil for them, with lots of organic material, lots of moisture-holding material and lots of drainage. Ian was deeply into hugelculture at the time. But it raises grubs ‘way better than it raises apple trees.

    Maybe I should look into fig trees. I mean, I’ve already got those hugelculture pits we built so laboriously.

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