All posts by Ben

Still Waiting

We’re still waiting for the warmer weather. It’s been a brisk couple of days wind wise, and this morning it was a mere 34 degrees F.

It’s supposed to be warm and in the 70s this weekend, which would be welcome for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

In life we’re always waiting, sometimes the wait is more noticeable than others, but it’s always something. When we’re young, it’s friends, and then the wait for lovers or spouses. Waiting.

When we’re older, it’s the march of life, family, and career. So many waits (or is it waitings?) Soon we’re waiting for retirement, even death.

Societies also grow and mature, and sometimes the undercurrents of discontent, or the mania of rapid bank fueled economic growth leads to another wait. The wait until the coming crash, or the wait until the rebirth.  Always waiting…

The Coyote waits. Sometimes it’s the rabbit hole, at other times the patient wait for the unwary. We’re always waiting…

Frequent Visitors

We’re blessed with abundant wildlife at Stagecoach Trails. We have coyotes, javelina, bobcats, mountain lions (closer to the mountains,) deer, fox, and a million quail.

I’ve seen a lion only once, but coyotes are almost daily, and the quail will come excitedly whenever we’ve been away for a few days. They want us to top off the three bird feeders that we have hung from a Joshua Tree out front.

Today we’ll spotlight the bobcats. (More pictures if you click “more” below.)

Continue reading Frequent Visitors

Wildflower Season Soon

It’s been a wet year so far. Today we received a light rain. On top of the rains of January & February and the upcoming rain on Friday, we are looking at what may be a rather good wildflower season.

In a perfect year, we would receive a decent soaking at least every two weeks from September to March. In most years, this just doesn’t happen, and this year was no exception.

We did get some decent rains in October, but November and most of December were devoid of any rain. There’s still hope though, and the relatively moist run that we’ve so far this season will really help this year. (At least one can dream.)

In 2005, we had a particularly wet year. The groundwater was so abundant that water ran across Alamo Rd. in spots for months. There were “seasonal” streams that had been dry for years that suddenly became babbling brooks. It was a verdant green time, and the desert was simply splendid.

Will 2019 be another stunner? Time will tell

 

 

Are We Losing the Grand Canyon?

“IF YOU BREAK loose here, you can’t stop. You’re going into the abyss,” barks Rich Rudow. Normally he is unflappable, but as he knows too well, this is no place to let down one’s guard. We’re on a cliff roughly 3,500 feet above the Colorado River at the tip of the Great Thumb Mesa, a spectacular formation that thrusts out from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon like the bow of an immense ship. It is one of the canyon’s most remote spots, rarely seen even by the most hard-core backpackers. If you come this far out on the Thumb, there is no way to get down to the river without climbing gear, and the dwindling food in your pack won’t allow you to make the eight-day trek back the way you came. You have to move forward.

Click the link to read the whole article, including pictures.

Source: Are We Losing the Grand Canyon? Via National Geographic

Frequent Visitors

Javelina are frequent visitors here on the ranch. We used to store birdseed on the front porch in a closed 5 gallon container. One night I heard a sound on the porch, and when I went out I discovered the overturned container and heard a shuffling noise in the darkness.

I cleaned up the seed as much as possible, but our porch is made of flagstone, and there were still quite a few left in the cracks and crevices.

I waited for a short while, and sure enough, the javelina returned to finish his snack. By morning there wasn’t a seed remaining.

Here’s some daytime shots:

Rainy Saturday at the Ranch

It’s a rainy Saturday morning, so that means gathering up every available 5 gallon bucket, pail, and even a plastic garbage can or two in the hopes of collecting the coveted premium –  rain water.

Although our well water tastes great, it does have about 350 parts per million of mineral content. This tends to give the water a slight alkalinity. For the most part it hadn’t seemed to hinder growth, but we were amazed at the difference that filtered or rain water made with our indoor plants.

In addition to rain water, we’ve been using a Berkey filter for the times when there is no rain. We also add a balanced liquid supplement varying between more nitrogen based, and adding potash & phosphorous as well.

At the moment inside, we have Black Krim & Yellow Pear tomatoes started, lettuce, Aji peppers, Peruvian Kiowa, Turmeric, Cilantro, and tobacco.

In the garden, we have three kinds of lettuce, cilantro, asparagus (soon!,) and I hope to start peas, spinach, and arugula this weekend.

We have a lot of seeds, and my darling spouse is always complaining that I buy too many seeds, but if we had to live off the garden, they would be a Godsend.

Yesterday, the Yucca food bank had big bags of spinach, so today it will be pureed and frozen for later use. Spinach is excellent and makes a great part of many ranch meals.

Here’s some pictures of last Falls’ indoor Yellow Pear tomatoes: