All posts by Ben

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:

 

The House of Cards

Remember all those sub-prime mortgages that blew up in 2007 and popped the housing bubble? The widely-held consensus is that millions of them were foreclosed as housing markets cratered. Since then, the remaining ones have been quietly disappearing as markets recovered.

Here is the problem: That is just a fairy tale. The truth is these mortgages are still dangerous and could soon undermine the housing recovery.

Source: The Burning Platform

Arizona History

Arizona, constituent state of the United States of America. Arizona is the sixth largest state in the country in terms of area. Its population has always been predominantly urban, particularly since the mid-20th century, when urban and suburban areas began growing rapidly at the expense of the countryside. Some scholars believe that the state’s name comes from a Basque phrase meaning “place of oaks,” while others attribute it to a Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indian phrase meaning “place of the young (or little) spring.” Arizona achieved statehood on February 14, 1912, the last of the 48 conterminous United States to be admitted to the union.

Source: Arizona | Geography, Facts, Map, & History | Britannica.com

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