mulberries, gutters and yurts, oh my.

often sunday night, as the weekend winds down, i want to sit down and write, but get distracted by the moment, or am too tired. then i come in on monday with a vague plan to write an entry, and immediately involve myself in other projects.

i’ve made good progress so far on my other projects this week, though. with a little determination, i can finish my primary work-hours personal project this week, and move on to finishing some of the work they pay me for.

saturday, my new yurt cover (i keepwanting to say canvas, but it’s *not* canvas, it’s a three-layered vinyl with thermally welded seams, which should be far superior to canvas) was supposed to arrive. CoYurtCo were supposed to ship it wednesday, but in fact shipped it on thursday. by fed-ex, i’m sorry to say, which i have usually experienced as vastly slower and less reliable than ups. sure enough, the fed-ex truck pulled up to our drive saturday morning…with only one of the two boxes in it. i had my roof, but not the walls. the walls were delivered yesterday. alas, we can’t find the valance with the gutters. it’s possible that it’s wrapped up in the roof, but it doesn’t seem likely. i have a message out to CoYurts now, to find out what the heck is going on with that.

at any rate, not having any walls meant we couldn’t exactly re-cover the yurt on saturday. so we went out to the sump pond, the one we dug in the field to handle the 4000+ gallons of bentonite laced water that needed to go somewhere while we were having the well drilled. the pond worked very well, and the 3′ deep trench we dug was 2′ full of bentonite, slowly releasing the last of its water. we had to keep the dog out of it for weeks. she was certain it was there just to be a big grey mud-bath for her. at any rate, we couldn’t exactly have this earthwork in the field for the handfasting, which will largely take place in the field. and had started filling it in over the last week or so. Saturday, Rev, and myself spent four hours and some slinging shovels, and got it filled in. there are just a couple slight mounds of dirt out there now that need to be raked around. what’s left of it is easy. we also discovered another mulberry tree, near the south fence, with very sweet fruit. we need to get out there and harvest it sometime very soon. that or let it go to the birds for this year. it was very tasty, though. it’s leaning over the tipi poles. we finished filling in the pond just as the wind got serious, and the looming threat of clouds that had been ghosting around the horizon all day decided to move in and speak their minds. we grabbed the radio and all the tools and bolted for the barn, making it into shelter just as the rain came pelting down. pow! it was a nice little rain. probably didn’t last much more than fifteen minutes, but it was a nice fifteen minutes.

we got inside, and both boys collapsed on the sofa in a exhausted puddles. i couldn’t stay still, and instead finished re-arranging the music corner, which had begun to shift with the change of couches that morning—our household has absorbed some of the material effluvia of Scott & Shara’s move to canada, in the form of a large compost tumbler, some lawn chairs, a clay outdoor fireplace, and a dark blue leather sofa (enabling Jenny’s very nice red sofa to go move over to Caer Aisling, where muddy feet won’t land on it). the sofa has recliners in both sides, making three recliners for the livingroom, which is nice. we moved a shelf to put it in, and that enabled me to move the trunk away from the corner a bit and get the didge basket back in there, out of the middle of the room. i cleaned everything while i was back in there. i was vibrating at too high a level for my tired menfolk, and Alan went outside to nap in the hammock (the rain being well over by then). eventually, he and i sat down to schedule every minute of the next month or so get all the handfasting prep onto the calendar, while Rev made a beer run.

the next day, i took Rev home after breakfast, and then drove all over freakin’ Albuquerque running errands. thrift store drop off, glass recycling drop off, kitty litter acquisition, feed store, Chase hardware, and finally Alameda Greenhouse and Plants of the SW. I came home with a car full of 2″ potted medicinal herbs, and a flat of marigolds for the veggie garden. only one splurge, an ephedra. Brittany had arrived in my lengthy absence, and was enthusiastic about helping plant the perennials bed, which she did with competence. we got everything planted, and small rainwater catchment basins around each plant, then watered with greywater from the laundry. Alan brought a wheelbarrow of mulch over when we were done, and mulched the whole thing. photos in the next post. there are five sunflowers at the back, then a row of thistles–a milk thistle, artichoke, burdock and devil’s claw (okay, not a thistle, but sharp). a desert rock rose, stunningly lovely, at one end. echinacea & gaillardia in the middle interspersed with yarrow. then the outer ring holds lantana, lavendar, meadowsweet, self-heal, toothache plant, jupiter’s beard, and some stuff i can’t remember right now. useful little green things. they were all still looking good yesterday, which hopefully will be a continuing trend. i have a few more flowers and another artichoke in the greenhouse to put in, when the time appears.

yesterday after work, invited us over to her new place to pick mulberries. they’ve recently acquired a lush green acre a few miles upriver, which they are documenting at . they are a sustainability family, and for those of you who are following us for reasons of sustainable homesteading, you may be interested in looking at their journal as well, as they’re doing some similar stuff (sustainable agriculture, working towards solar power, responsible water management, &c). Their place includes several largish mulberry trees, which they don’t have time this year to harvest, what with refinishing the floors and whatnot so they can move in. Alan’s friend Ana came with us, and brought a friend of hers, and they, along with Alan, shimmied up the mulberry trees to shake fruit down onto the tarps (far and away the fastest way to harvest mulberries), and turned their hands purple eating them. they’re very sweet berries, from one tree in particular. gave me a tour of the whole place, which is verdant and full of assorted fruit-bearing trees & shrubs.

we’re replete with mulberries and love. working with Rev and Alan is glorious. and Jaime’s coming down for Dave & Leslie’s handfasting this weekend, and will stay saturday with me, so i get time with all my boys this weekend. Rev sent me a new song and an electronic drawing of a rock rose expanding into a fractal yesterday, over-the-top sweetness. he is connecting with the farm as much as with me, which both of us were initially surprised by, and which is so profoundly meaningful i can scarcely touch it. loving this loving. and working well together, which is awesome.

my yurt walls did arrive, valance or no valance, so the plan on sunday is to take the canvas walls off, then for me to climb up the yurt, remove the chimney and flashing, remove the canvas roof, put up the vinyl roof, lace the vinyl walls to them, cut the insulation to fit the new twice-zippered, sealable and screened windows (eventually, i’ll get around to rearranging inside so as to make best use of the windows, but that is not on sunday), attach the walls to the door with their nifty aluminum track stuff, which i am *praying* fits my nonstandard-size door (they are supposed to include an extra strip of the track stuff, and the bead that hooks the wall to the track just in case), put the chimney back, and then put up the gutters. assuming they’re in the box somewhere.

you heard that right: gutters. on my yurt. next step after that will be to pick up one of those 300 gallon rain barrels at Dan’s Boot & Saddle (or someplace, but they have nice ones there). Because the yurt can catch 996 gallons of water per year. 124 gallons per inch of rainfall, and we will get some 2″ rainfalls in your average summer rainy season, and the way summer rains fall, most of it will still be in the tank when the next rain falls. I have to get a tank that is lower than the roof-line of the yurt, though, and that fits in the space i have. 300 seems pretty reasonable.

Meanwhile, Matt is installing gutters on the house, pump house, kitchen shed, barn, turkey coop and chicken coop. He’d do the goat coop too, but we haven’t built that yet. The barnyard water is all falling on nice tin rooves, so will go towards livestock watering needs, and should simplify our daily barnyard experience mightily, when there’s rain to be caught and saved. The house has a tar-shingle roof, alas, and so its water is no good for drinking, but will go out to the garden anyhow. I’d like to put a carbon filter on it. we won’t have the cisterns this month–metal cisterns are frightfully expensive–but the gutters are going up this week, and should be done by the end of next week. Matt cleaned up the goat pen area yesterday, too, sorting and stacking all the lumber on the lumber racks, by way of getting at the roofline where he needed to work. Awesome bonus points there. he cut back the barn elms, too, so as to be able to replace the wood of the eaves where it was falling off the barn, and the whole area looks surprisingly cleaner. i suspect the house, whose poor eaves have been deteriorating badly, will look much, much nicer with the wood repaired and gutters up. he is done with the woodwork, and about ready to start hanging gutters.

charging forward. it’ll be a good week, if abundantly social. now to resume finishing that project, so that i can scratch one more major thing off the omnipresent list.

photo post later today.