Category Archives: mullbery

Life’s a Beach

Last Wednesday Karen and I escaped Vegas for an excursion to Southern California. As usual neither one of us is ever able to totally escape from the day to day grind but we sure tried. Running her own business, Gotbirds?, Karen has to take every opportunity she can to pick up supplies, we took the truck this time in order to deliver a bunkbed for our niece and nephew so we stopped at Magnolia Bird Farm. Frank and all the rest of the staff there are fantastic people and always treat Karen like she treats all of her customers. 600 pounds of seed, 3 pair of cinnamon zebra finches, and 2 pair of button quail later we were back on the road.I’m not sure if Arwen’s reaction was for us or the bunk beds but it was certainly great to see her, Grady and finally get to meet our newest niece, 3 month old Tess:We did manage to fit in a little beach time:Timber Bamboo also found a spot in our agenda thanks to Karen’s single minded focus. She knew I was looking for some to screen my orchard/chicken ranch from the street, but when we found it outrageously priced at a wholesale nursery in Oceanside I was ready to call it quits. Not Karen though, she somehow conned the guy helping us to call one of his “sources”. We ended up at Bamboo HQ in Vista. What a great place! I am so blessed to be married to Karen, she truly does not let anything stop her when she’s on a mission. They not only had the Oldhami Bamboo I was looking for but also a beautiful Jacaranda Tree that Karen had been trying to find for her sister.Saturday on the way to ride the train the kids helped me find a Mulberry tree at a nursery in Escondido. All in all we had a great extended weekend and came back with desperately needed supplies for Karen’s business along with plants for my Orchard/Chicken Ranch project.The Mulberry Tree replaced the very first one I planted this past spring that didn’t make it. This time I added more compost in a bigger area and also raised the planting a bit so as not to let it get wet feet.The bamboo went in slightly behind the pomegranates to provide screening during the winter. Once the Mulberries, Bamboo, and Pomegranates get established I plan on removing the evil, nasty oleanders that flank the gates and currently provide the bulk of the screening from the street.

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Plans, we all need Plans

This weekend my Sweety, Karen, the Princess, Alexa, and I went to Tonopah  to watch our oldest son Michael’s team play football. Growing up Mikey always planned to coach football, he truly loves the game for the games sake meaning that it isn’t about the “celebrity” players for him. I am not a sports fan in any way, shape or form but I enjoy watching a game with Mikey because he understands every little thing that is going on and loves to talk about it without pontificating.

Pyramid Lake High School hired Michael 2 years ago as a Social Studies Teacher/Head Football Coach. The first two seasons were rough, a big goose egg in the W column. He had told me he had a 5 year plan to build a program at a school that had never embraced football, him and his boys are in year 3 and things are starting to come together a little bit. The first season Mikey was a maniac on the field, throwing clip boards and stomping his hat. It was interesting sitting in the stands listening to the parents talk about that crazy white boys antics on the field, but they liked how respectful their sons were required to be. This year he finally found an assistant coach to be the drama queen and Mikey is growing into the Head Coach role, being the calm in the storm but always ready with the steady encouragement or the swift kick in the ass. I think he is finally getting it that if you scream all the time everyone gets used to it and just tunes you out. His boys are 2-0 this year, are they going to go undefeated? probably not, but they, Mikey included, have turned a corner because of the strong foundation that was forged in those tortuous first 2 seasons.Mikey was even calm enough to ask his niece, Alexa, to be water girl and put up with her antics the whole game.OK maybe not the whole game, Lexi did spend a little bit of time in the stands helping Karen pick on me. Karen has been encouraging Lexi to help her with the birds and loving the fact that they have found an interest they can share.Sometimes though I think Lexi is planning how she can use the birds in a Lady GaGa style dance performance. This post has been way off topic, could you guess that my main focus right now is how proud I am of my eldest son? He is developing into quite a man. Getting away and putting the mess in my little plot out of my mind for a bit was nice.

That doesn’t mean ideas aren’t swirling around, straw bale gardens popped in to the old noggin for a bit but luckily that idea slipped out my left ear during a highly unusual afternoon nap Sunday. The focus is going to be on refining the narrow raised beds between the rows of trees and raising the lower end of the orchard. Both of those projects are going to require fill so right now my labor efforts are zeroed in on compost manufacturing. This weekend Karen and I are going to Escondido to hang out with Arwen, Grady, and Tess. Tess is my newest niece and isn’t in this picture, I haven’t got to meet her yet and am very excited about that. While in Escondido Karen has promised to find me a couple more Mulberry trees and maybe some more Comfrey. Knowing Karen she wont be able to resist taking the kids to the feed store which means baby chicks! Woo-Hoo! Isn’t it great how plans are always being formulated, coming together, and coming to fruition?

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Hot Enough to make your Butt Sweat

Yes it is hot enough here in Las Vegas to make your butt sweat, but thats an improvement. For the last month we have been having afternoon thunderstorms that didn’t do much other than make it muggy. A few clouds in the morning, intense sun at noon, with a nice afternoon thunderstorm makes for days that are hot enough to soak your shirt not just your butt.

Today I worked on pulling out that burned up corn you can see above.

Moving the shade cloth to protect my tomatoes and peppers

And trying to protect my newest half-assed hugelkulture bed from the miserable flock of pigeons that my obviously misguided neighbor gets such enjoyment from feeding. I have a very effective pigeon control system manufactured by AirForce Airguns that works very well. Until, that is, my dink of a neighbor comes out and blows his weeny little airhorn to scare the pigeons up to his roof so that they can add to the lovely white wash effect he must be trying to achieve.

In that bed I am trying to get a cover/forage crop going. For seed I put a big handful each of buckwheat, soybeans, and the pigeon feed I am currently fermenting for my hens. That pigeon feed contains several types of field peas, wheat, barley, milo, and millet. With all of that in that little 4’X4′ bed something ought to come up. Did you know that if you forget to pick up a dead pigeon from your chicken run it will magically vanish by the next day? leaving nothing behind but feathers and maybe a foot? Amazing! More evidence of those crafty space aliens visiting my coop.

These are my 3 mulberry trees, the top 1 is the survivor of the 2 originals I got from over the hump in Pahrump while the bottom 2 are the ones that my Sweety, Karen, got me during our trip to the birdmart in Pomona. They are doing a lot better than expected and I am looking forward to shade and fruit next year!

 

 

Those furry little caterpillar looking things are blooms that hopefully will mature into Mulberries in a month or two, meaning I might actually get to harvest fruit from my orchard this year!

My flock gets a rather varied diet, Why? mostly because buying pellets and pouring them in a feeder is kinda boring. It’s a lot more work to gather, grow, and ferment stuff for them but it makes me feel more involved in their welfare. Does it make them healthier? I honestly don’t know but it sure makes me healthier. If everyone had chickens and a garden maybe the pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be making such a killing on antidepressants and other mental health medications. Chicken Therapy! Thats what America needs!

 

 

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