this morning we harvested mulberries off our driveway tree, and right this moment, Alan is making mead out of them. we’ll have more to harvest in a week or so; that batch can go to jam, and eating fresh, and drying.
yesterday i learned that the only reason that giant trench and its associated giant mound of piled dirt was still in front of my yurt door, was because we needed to run some electrical conduit to the well. nothing at all complicated, just conduit. i had no idea. i thought it was waiting on something serious, something that required Professional Skills Beyond My Ability, like getting the solar pump in series with the AC pump. which is still on the agenda, but does not require a trench. well. upon learning that that was not, in fact, the case, i organized yesterday so that we went to home depot and got the conduit and fittings (as well as 90% of the hardware, fittings, and material needed for Matt to install the gutters next week or the week after, thereby freeing up next saturday from a hardware store run, yay!) while we were in town to drop the truck off at the mechanic (speaking of large projects that needed to come un-wodged). and today, alan put the conduit together while i fixed the leak under the path in the drip system (take three; looks possible that we actually got it this time), and then ran a soaker hose into the cold frame beds, to take hand-watering those off the morning/evening-chores list. alan also did most of the shovelling to fill that trench back up with dirt, and level the garden bed. then he went off to cultivate the scrub mulberries & apples along our acequia, while i took a pitchfork and fluffed the soil in the perennials bed. it has suffered from having a well truck parked on it. in fact, i was unable to find its original boundary on the well-truck-parking side, so completely did the truck compress the soil. i figure i’ll be digging that side out more when we finish the new-well shed anyway.
so the perennials bed, which we began in september, and which has been in the center (literally) of the new well drilling process for months, is finally ready for planting! to celebrate, i set up the laundry greywater system, which involved drilling a hole through the south wall of the pumphouse, to push the laundry outflow hose through, where it deposits into a 35-gallon trash can that has been set up for a hose outflow at the base. this turns out to be slightly too small for the laundry machine’s output, but as long as i leave the hose open so that it can drain a little bit while it is filling, it should work out fine for the time being. this and rainwater will water the perennials bed.
and this cuts our last undesired connection to the sewer system! there is no more “waste” water in our lives. it all returns to the land and percolates through the cleansing soil to the acquifer.
i also started cleaning up around the “backyard” area while i was out there. there’s too much trash floating around that has got to get dealt with before the handfasting. there’s still plenty there, but i made a dent in it, anyway.
alan and i put the extra clay from fixing the garden into the giant tunnel our dog has been digging on the west end of the acequia. she appears to be trying to tunnel into the ditch, though there may not be that much forethought involved on her part. she had a ways to go yet, but had already compromised the north fence, so we’re making an effort to at least significantly slow her down.
it doesn’t sound like much, picking mulberries, restoring one small garden bed, and fixing a few small things with the drip system, but it’s been a day of major accomplishments all the same, following yesterday of major accomplishments as well. yesterday we planted the grapes (five vines, two green varieties and a red variety), and then i ran drip to them, & fixed the drip that was leaking by the gladiolas, which are up, while Tristan and Jenny planted thirty-some tomatoes, along with marigolds, and parsley from greenhouse starts (not ours, the ones i bought at Alameda Greenhouse last week–they are at least mostly heirlooms–one pack of roma, the rest green zebra, cherokee purple, & german yellow). later i planted eight purple bell peppers, eight eggplant, and four zinnias in the next bed. i also put in a yarrow near the apricot, and some blue salvia. flowers for bees, flowers for butterflies, flowers to delight and nourish our senses. roses should be next, maybe along the south fence near the currants.
and, to keep going backwards, friday night when i got home, i cleaned the drip system filter, fixed the shower curtain, and then cleaned the living daylights out of the yurt. which is nearly unrecognizable without any piles of clothing, or the winter rugs (now washed), or my bike. i got the table set up so i can draw at will, which is a major improvement, though i have not yet made time to do that. i have to clear the Must Dos from my plate before something as optional as drawing actually feels good. i’m getting there, getting actually caught up.
we were going to go backpacking up Glorieta Baldy this weekend, camp in the canyon, climb the peak the next day. it’s a beautiful hike, and very quiet. but it has also been raining all weekend–a bit over half an inch friday night and saturday, and a small spurt a few minutes ago; it’s windy and generally stormy out right now, and if we’re lucky we’ll get some more. unusual weather for May! first our to-do list started drowning us, and we postponed the trip until yesterday. then the rain put me off, the more so because i slept very poorly on friday from the cold weather. what with that, and the 60% chance of more rain up near Glorieta, we decided to skip backpacking this weekend, do more farm work to genuinely get going on the Must Do Before Handfasting list, and go day-hiking up something difficult in the Sandias tomorrow to make up for it. :) as alan put it, the presence of a must-do list in our lives doesn’t mean that the universe will give us time to do it all, let alone all that and still go hiking.
i am more satisfied with the last three days of work than i have been in a while. and i’m glad we stayed home and worked. i feel like the list is accomplishable now that one of the largest projects–that garden bed–is nearly finished. and all that’s left is the fun part–deciding what to plant, and planting it.
and tomorrow, we are going to go find something difficult in the Sandias, and climb up it. We’re thinking either Canoncito trail, or Barts Trail, both of which launch straight up the backside of the mountain, and cover a couple thousand vertical feet over a couple-three miles. Canoncito i’ve done before, and is slightly easier, as it actually has switchbacks. i’ve never gone up Bart’s trail. in either case, we’ll get a good workout, a 7 mile or so round trip hike with enough elevation to make us stretch our limits, and a glorious spring day on the pretty side of Sandia mountain.
and next weekend, my new yurt cover should be here, and Rev and i are trying to work it out so that he can spend the weekend down here–helping with the yurt canvas install, with time around the edges for play. the next big project is to fill in that sump pond in the back field, and then to finish the dye beds (which requires getting another truckload of compost–i’ll be glad when, in five years or so, we have all the new gardens dug that we want, and have our composting operation down to an art, and can stop purchasing the stuff–but at least the truck is being repaired, so this is becoming *possible*). shade cloth over the tomatoes and all in the garden. breaking down the brooders now that all the birds are integrated into the main flocks, and cleaning up the barn from that experience. finishing the rabbit hutches. weeding horse nettle, which is everywhere pernicious. at least we’re reasonably free of goatheads, for which mercy i give thanks. and keeping the house and land clean and tidy. an Appreciation Dinner for our volunteers next month will help with that. we have seven weeks till the handfasting, including one work party, one or two family work days, and a couple unspecified Sunflower River Get Things Done days, which allows wiggle-room for sudden new projects like harvesting, and mead-making, and equipment failures and barnyard emergencies. which don’t happen often, but when they do, they’re less disruptive if there’s make-up room in the schedule.
Alan and i learned last year that to be away from the farm two weekends in a row is to court disaster, drastically increase our stress levels regardless of the relaxing qualities of whatever it is we are off doing, and back our Must Do lists up into flaming infrared urgency for months afterwards. particularly as a repeated pattern. last summer was really hard. i aim for this summer to go more smoothly, to feel in the flow. which means not getting backlogged like crazy, which means prioritizing the farm, even when i could be off climbing mountains.
this is the right place, and we’re doing the right things. i’m deeply grateful that the universe allowed us the gift of Sunflower River, place and work and people. all in all, i’d rather be here anyway.