Any Nasty Hatchet

Either more tolerance has evolved or it hasn’t been quite as hot this last week or so — maybe I’ve just been being brave.

There was one day, just the way monsoons do, where it seemed like a giant bucket of water was tipped over in the sky — out of the blue, with no warning. One minute no clouds, the next minute the bucket and rip roaring wind. Since then, it seems a little cooler.

At any rate, it’s been easier to be outside so I’ve been getting SO MUCH done — so sick of all the messes. You know, those, “I could use this later to … — I could make this or that out of this or that… — These spray paint lids could …???”

Junk. Accumulating junk that I so didn’t ever want to send off to the landfill. Now they are going to the landfill. I want not to put that kind of burden on any other one.

I thought at one point —  a couple of years or so ago, maybe more — that I was going to do a mosaic tile pattern on all the inside floors. Well, someone donated tons of tiles to the project and two days were devoted to driving to another town to collect them, more days to offload them all and corral them somewhere until the project could be gotten to, and several more days or weeks of trying to figure out how to do it only to get utterly discouraged of the huge project it became with a house filled up with stuff, (that kind of thing should only ever be undertaken in an empty house), as well as back-breaking labor and, in the end, it was just too, too, too busy for my taste.

Live and learn.

It was one of those long-time dreams that had to be explored.

Age has made me wiser and some dreams are also going to the dump.

Some of those tiles were used to create paths thinking they might keep the soil moister and help the soil livestock. NOTHING, not a single solitary thing keeps anything in this desert moist unless it is a steady stream of water. Shade helps the most — hence the goal to plant, plant, plant as many trees as this little piece of land can hold.

I got a little nervous lately because my #GoodNeighbor and his lady were out scoping the trees on his side of the fence — I feared he might lop the ones down that are there that I love so much. Turns out he might just have been trying to decide where to put his new little Chicago Hardy fig tree.

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Isn’t it cute

He called me to the fence yesterday to tell me all about it. How good it is doing and that when it’s all grown up and hanging over my side, he wants me to help myself to figs. I love that kind of confidence and figs. Yum. Free figs!!

The back story of our acquaintance involves me and a saw sneaking out to cut branches off of his overhanging trees so that I could install the fence for my doggies. I was well within my rights and did it exactly that way because I knew his then wife and I knew that if I asked for permission, she would come out and direct the whole event, not to my liking. As it was, she called the police. Some less-than-civil words were spoken and some body posturing was done — but in the end, the police said I was fully within my rights. Later on the two of them went their separate ways, he put in renters and later came back to start a remodel to move in there himself. Needless to say, we buried, (ignored), any nasty hatchet and have been more than civil neighbors ever since.

Every day I try to go out and get some things done. It’s amazing how things get done when you do that.

I tried to paint that rug once and most of it went through the back. I may try again with some of the old junkie paint instead of letting it all dry up and sending it to the landfill too. Maybe if a whole bunch of it was puddled????

I like having the rug there.

Most of the worst of the junk seems to be in Buster’s yard. I’ve really let that side go to pieces — but not for long…

I think I’ve finally come up with the perfect solution for Buster’s new habitat. I knew in my gut that it would eventually swirl around in the ether and finally land on me.

I was at Tractor Supply getting mosquito dunks and spied some stock tanks out in their fenced in yard. I was imagining a big round galvanized one that many people use to make themselves a pool so went over to see how much they cost. They didn’t have any. Suddenly the light bulb moment hit me like a 300 gallon Rubbermaid tiered and plumbed giant tub.

rubbermaid turtle tank

I’m so excited I can hardly stand myself. A friend is coming with her truck to help me get one home tomorrow.

My truck has a cover on it and it doesn’t really run and isn’t insured except to sit.

This is what occurs when you can’t easily go where you think you want to and some places just aren’t open. You have to use your noodles. It’s the best solution I can now imagine. I think it can still be below ground but be dug out where the outlet is so that the water can be drained to another hole that will be like a grey water pond with plants and rocks and sand and such — we’ll both have to wait for the details — they are conjuring in my noodles but I’m sure as sure can be for as sure as I can be.

Of course I came home and started researching to see if they are safe for little turtle girls (and boys.) Buster’s a girl as well as I can tell.

Check this out:

 

And I think the hole I started is going to be a great start to fitting it in and the tub can be leveraged over the fence right there with 2x4s. It’s fairly, pretty light.

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Waiting has its just rewards. It’s all finally falling into place.

So all that stuff under the cover is debris that can be made into a hugelkultur bed above the ground as a berm or another hole dug into the ground for it to be used for the runoff. More research and practice seems to be oncoming.

Draining has always been the hurdle. There isn’t electricity to use a pump and the water gets full of algae so quickly that there needs to be a way to refresh it and use the runoff well.

I think we’ve found the answer.

I’m so excited I can’t stand myself. I’ll say it twice.

Check back in a little while if you want to see where this goes. Even if it fails for Buster’s pond, (which I don’t expect it will), it will make a very lovely pool for me and the kitties. I don’t think they’ll bother getting in.

Just as a little side, I’ve been bringing home more plastic tubs to sort out all the sewing stuff. I’m almost as excited about finally getting that all done as I am about Buster’s pond.

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I guess I’d better hurry back to Walmart for more beans and bins because I WILL NOT WEAR A MASK, (starting Monday). I WILL NOT be complicit in this, (somewhat non-violent though violent just the same), coup d’état being perpetrated on us. I hope you won’t as well.

I guess it’s beans and rice for me. You have to stick your picket pin in somewhere. I refuse to be a robot. There are worse things than death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Than Sleep

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It’s hot.
Deserts often are.

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Monsoon season is near. Hurry, hurry monsoons. We’re not anxious for winter, or darkness early, but we’d sure like some cool — and water.

Buster’s pond is full of algae. We need the cool to dig the new one and some water will make the ground a little easier to dig.

I watered the very thirsty, thirsty things in Buster’s yard today and over the fence in the parkway. Everything was shriveling and suggesting an expiration date — some things were barely saved in time. The prickly pears were fine, and the mesquite and some weeds — but even the weeds came off a little desperate. It may be that only mesquite and prickly pears can survive on their own without much help but even they say thanks to a little bit of water here and there.

You mustn’t turn your back on anything.

The kitties are sleeping all day long. It seems they’re too hot to think of doing anything better or do they always sleep?

As for me, I wish I had a pool.

Long Term Hope

The big black cat I called Woolly disappeared. He and Mr. Shire, (below) had a huge fight many months back and it seemed that Woolly won. Woolly was the only one around for quite awhile — but he had a large, horribly inflamed patch that looked like raw meat around one of his ears. He wouldn’t let me near him so there seemed to be no real way to try to help him. I suppose a trap could have caught him — but that kind of stress isn’t much better of a hope than to let him figure things out for himself. It was hard to watch him suffer though.

He laid around healing for a long time and seemed to get all better. Suddenly he went missing and Mr. Shire came back.

I had to catch this picture of Mr. Shire through the security door at the entrance of the house. The kitties inside told me he was out there. I tried to get a better shot but he moved along to the backyard all too quickly.

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He’s such a pretty cat and very big.

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The above shot was taken just a few minutes before one.  It seems that might now be when the sun is directly overhead?

It’s been too hot to do much of anything outside — so kitchen scraps have been going into five gallon buckets with the lids a little loose for air. That big pot with the bucket over it has been filled up too and covered with drier things as scraps go in. The goal is to compost everything in trenches as it seems to be the only way it works. It’s just too hot to try to dig.

A cantaloupe got way too soft before I knew it so I am leaving it above ground to let the seeds ferment inside of it. Wondering if that might make them more viable to use to sprout?? It’s always fun to experiment. That’s how things would happen in nature??

Out checking on things, I noticed many of the Anna Apples had fallen under the tree.

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They were big this year and many — but are still showing distress from too much heat. Mostly they fell off before ripening and the ones that did get yellow also got the soft, burn-like spots. They heat up from the inside out.

Anna Apples are supposed to be able to stand this desert heat???

Bah humbug. Pish Tosh. Dagnabbit!

How’s someone in the desert supposed to eat if a London Bridge falls down again?

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Well, they’re still pretty to look at and food for the bugs. We’ll see if any ripen for me to eat.

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Compost is a good thing overall and the long term hope of any real success — so these can go to that if nothing else. It’s been impressive to see Ms. Anna produce so many that are so big. The first year she made some they were tiny. This is progress. Just gotta get some kind of contraption rigged up out back to create shade for a cooler environment. That is also why the Tree of Heavens are being left to grow. Everything I’ve tried so far hasn’t worked out. Maybe the weeds trees will have to be the answer.

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Anna Apple tree

It seems to be that we must work with what we have.

And work we must.

Wisdom corner for the day. (Credit to Jon Rappoport’s blog):

Thomas Paine, December, 1776: “THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

 

Doors With Gaps

The year the water lily was purchased, it was intended to deal with the algae issue with Buster’s pond. Buster preferred to eat it. The lily had to have a new place made just for it. A rigged up deal was made but has worked out just great — a wire round, rows of jars covered with a felt blanket and lined with plastic, clipped on with clothes pins at the top edge of the wire and filled with water. So, there is a lower level where the pot sits and room above for her pads to spread out.

The first year some pellet type things were purchased too to stick in the sand of the lily’s container to feed her. This year, because of you know what, it hasn’t been easy to get south or find the store open to purchase more of the pellets. Perhaps they could have been ordered online, but I was being stubborn because I also wanted some rubber pond liner to make Buster’s new pond.

This year the make-do, fence-wire pond has filled up with snails that love the algae and Lily’s dying pads. Maybe that is nutrition enough — lots of poo from snails?

These flowers must make up to a count of seven or so that have been produced so far and lots and lots of green pads coming and going. Things seem good. The water’s clear.

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I started to scoop that big chunk of string algae out but it was laced with snails so it was decided to let nature take her course — always, always good advice.

There is a mosquito dunk in there with it because mosquitoes just aren’t one of the more favorable parts of nature and need a little bit of help to control some — or so it seems.

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Goldfish are good for mosquito control but it turns out the volume of water in this tub isn’t big enough to support them. Pish Tosh.

Buster of course, got a water iris since I can’t seem to get my hands on duckweed. She doesn’t seem to like the taste of it. It’s proliferating as we speak and also full of snail that I hope she likes to eat. As soon as the Monsoons hit full swing, it might be cool enough to work on her new pond.

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The yard is filling up with Tree of Heavens so it should be a jungle around here in no time. They grow really, really fast and pop up everywhere.

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It’s a rainy day. It seems Monsoons are starting. July is the month. It’s also snake season. Lucy was jumping around the other night and pawing at something. I looked down and it was a tiny snake. It did NOT look like a king snake baby so I felt compelled to take my flip flop and smack it on the head — several times. I was hoping to just numb it so I could take it back outside. That didn’t work. I’m still not sure what it was — it was pure sandy colored. It’s hard to tell if it had jowls like poisonous snakes, for the most part, do but it did look to have a fattening tail like it might be growing a rattle. Mommy adrenaline kicked in and survival was the mode. I felt horrible. Just who am I to take a life? From what I’ve read, poisonous baby snakes shoot out all their venom and are more potent than adults? I couldn’t take a chance.

Now for all those doors with gaps. Ain’t it always something?

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It’s turning silver as it dries. The head is at the bottom.

 

The easiest rocket stove I’ve ever seen. I’m gonna make me one. We need stuff like this at times like these:

 

Where It Is

Finally disciplined myself to get the kitchen floor painting finished. Everything had to be swept and mopped and all the riffraff things moved out to start the finishing process. The cabinet there still needs to be finished and the cupboards above it. The cupboard doors have so many layers on them now, it is tempting to yank the doors off and try to either scrap them down or make something new. They don’t close right. That will have to wait — but it did stop me in my tracks to contemplate that thought leaving them unfinished. They’re too messy to bother showing.

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The kitchen floor was started with a color that blended well enough with the living room but it’s much better now all matching. It makes spaces seem grander to have the floors all the same. The painting started with where it had been left off with the other color thinking some kind of sponging could be done to transition from living room, hall to kitchen. It was just better and easier to paint it all the same. The big dresser being used as a counter/island with the corner cabinet backing where it projects wasn’t painted under — yet. It may be good enough? There are no plans to move things. Everything else was pulled out and painted under.

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Before painting it all the same color. There are three colors showing here.

There are never ending jobs to do — but that is how I like it. Always something fun to do. The garden table there has paper under its feet because the felt pads were sticking to the slowly curing paint. The paper might stick too, but should be easier to wet off. Felt leaves fibers.

Yes, living “wired-in” leaves cords everywhere. The phone motem is wireless but I have old-fashioned slimline phones wired into it. We don’t have any real choice here. Verison is our go-to for phone service and they don’t use copper. The cable that brings the Century Link internet service in from the outside goes through the kitchen and the wireless motem for it is in the farthest away bedroom. Verison didn’t have internet here. Someday I may bother to fix it all better — but for now it’s strung however it was easiest to do. Wire coffee tabs were stapled to the ceiling to traipse it to the bedroom. I know.

Yes, I’m stocking up on beans. You know why. The bag there is holding bottle tops that have a hope of turning into a room divider screen type thing — always something fun to do — that’s my motto don’t ya know? The curtain hiding the laundry room needs to come down and some translucent paint or paper applied.

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These are the hotter days to get through but monsoon season is quite nearby so it will cool off lots by then.

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A sweet potato vine was tried to be grown in this hanging basket. It couldn’t stay wet enough so was turned into a ceramic birds nest.

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The romaine lettuce was left to bolt and has. Some are growing through the expanded metal.

Saving seeds is where it is. I can’t bring myself to hyphenate and add the at. That’s one of those grammatical things that drives me nuts because, even though it would be an idiom in this context, it allows for exploitation to such things as “Where are you at?” I know it’s acceptable and common, but so are masks. You get my drift? Slippery slopes.

Seed saving is where it is. It’s the bomb. It’s over there with building hugelkultur beds and growing trees are.

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The table and wire baskets have made it cool enough here for the lettuce to go the distance.

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I left the hose trickling pretty fast on the lilac bush all night long lately by mistake. It seems to have loved it. My pocket book might not.

Cutter bees help themselves to the leaves every year. It never seems to matter — except to make it look a mess.

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And that’s okay with me.

 

 

It’s Just Heat

Phew! Just came in from moving the hose. It was left on the mama chaste tree to give her a good soak — slowly.

I try to walk around barefoot as much as possible in the interest of staying grounded. Ouch! That sand gets HOT! Sometimes, if the hose is in hand, the ground under foot is sprayed long enough to cut the heat and as the hose and I move on, the ground beneath the feet gets hosed again. The hose was on dribble mode and under the tree. I just had to be quick. Sometimes one can’t be quick enough. Ouch!

Mama chaste tree is looking great this year and I’m hoping it is due to putting the lump of sticks and debris there to decompose around her and also aid with minimizing any evaporation that might just be some part of the betterment key. Last year she looked very glum and there was lots of worry she might be in distress. The one at the end of the property on the outside of the fence, (in the parkway), was gorgeous for many years and suddenly started biting the dust. It was very hard to water and it did get a little neglected. So, mama chaste got lots of attention after that. It seems to have paid off some. Last year she produced very, very few flowers. This year she is abundantly producing. The bees are very happy. Butterflies and other flying things as well.

Mama chaste tree has a new baby.

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I may have to start a chaste tree nursery if she keeps this up. There must be ten being nursed, waiting to find a space to be transplanted to.

Thank GOD for the scraggly tree and all her shade. Several Tree of Heavens have sprouted at the base of Mrs. Scraggly. She says, “Let them grow. I need the company and I’m getting old. There is no telling how much longer I can try to shade things. They can take my place in the event the sun and I part company.”

This house was built in 1945. I suspect she was a baby somewhere near that time. She might be older than I am.

I LOVE Mrs. Scraggly. I hug her with my vibes. I think she has a baby too, somewhere in among the other things that volunteer all around and not far from her. I’m keeping a close eye.

Petuny has a baby too. Her babe is growing close to where she used to be. She got moved a little farther back.

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The strawberry plant transplanted from the toilet tank looks like it is coming back to better life. Fingers crossed.

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I’ve been trying to learn how to sun gaze. It wasn’t low enough in this image. This was yesterday. I missed it when it was low enough, (just before ‘setting’ — “dusk or dawn” it is recommended but don’t do it without finding out about the risks and how to properly do it), because I left to shop and it got behind a hill before I got the car stopped.

So, after hopping around on bare feet and being out long enough today to get hot, coming through the porch door into the house, it feels like a refrigerator and that is with no air conditioning on. It’s funny how we acclimate. After being in awhile, it feels hot again and two little fans directed at me seem to work until the house sits in the sun all day long. I turn the heat-pump on “cool” late to cut the heat some for a little bit. It really makes a difference.

The living room and the main bedroom are the coolest rooms throughout the day. I’ve had the bedroom shut off so that Lucy could come in when she wants to during the day. She goes back out to the studio for the night. Sometimes Mickey comes in too but not very often. He’s perfectly happy sleeping ALL.DAY.LONG. on his perch out there most days. If he comes in, he gets bored much sooner than Lucy does.

But, neither Lucy nor I have been happy having to be only in the living room for lounging. So, I found a way to make the bedroom Lucy-safe. Now we can be happy in that room too.

I cover the bed with a sheet of plastic after getting up and have put a plastic basket on a plastic tub near the window. Their rack used to be there for a lookout and has always had an old sheet hanging around it to collect their dirt and fur from any better thing hanging on top of it. Their rack is in the living room currently. Lucy went right for the basket and is so content all day long staying in it. She comes out from time to time and begs for rubs or food and then goes back.

People who don’t live here in this desert often ask me how I stand it. I always say, “It’s just heat.”

Right now the wind kicked up and is blowing the sheet at the window and the chimes outside. If the AC was on, I couldn’t hear the birds or the chimes or feel the pleasant breeze, (and it would cost a LOT of money.)

How a cat with fur sitting in a window stands it, I don’t know. You’ll have to ask little Ms. Lucille. She doesn’t seem to mind. I guess she likes to hear the birds too.

 

 

 

To Emerald City

Buster’s pond is a constant struggle — the bigger one especially. This littler one has been out of commission for a while now.

This hole was one of the first attempts to make a pond, sized big enough to make a little girl water turtle happy. It was originally dug out to fit a kiddie pool. As things evolved — blah, blah, blah. Oh darn, I can scarcely remember all the various gyrations that have been struggled through trying to get this pond thing right — books, blogs, videos, and an established aquatic plant and pond business in a nearby town — and who wants to hear that all again anyway? It’s all archived here in past posts.

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The big pond just seems to be too awkward to care for properly. It is not aligned in the yard right to be able to easily configure a decent cover for it. I thought I had things figured out fairly well when I put the tarp over the old canopy frame. Arizona wind is not to be taken lightly. That all had to come down before it all went flying off to Emerald City. Most recently, a cattle panel was tried to be made useful but that has failed to be fully successful as well.

Seems like I really just need to learn how to build and put some money into this thing.

Meanwhile, today found me braving the cooler part of the late afternoon trying to reconfigure things.

The hose was used to fill up the smaller hole so that it could be dug out deeper, wider and longer. The only thing that seems to make sense at this stage is to try to make something out of it and move Buster to it so that the other one can either be made right or filled up with debris, dirt and made into a growing bed.

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Sometime back a bunch of weeds were pulled out from the parkway strip and tossed over the fence to use for compost. I know, I know…weed seeds! I love weed seeds. They are the only thing that grows around here and the resource necessary for building up good soil is compost, compost, compost…which means organic things that decompose.

So, gradually they have been being piled up on the downward sloping side of the littler hole so that that end could be made into a hugel mound so the pond won’t over flow when full — the all-along intention being to use whatever dirt was dug out to make the pond bigger to cover all the weeds to make the mound. Am I right?

We’ll find out.

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I’ve been tripping over this half-buried log as this spot just seems to be the most useful path to take to get from here to there. The #5Hugelkultur mound is what it is a part of.

I decided to dig it out.

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While the kitties watched from afar.

Ain’t that some humdinger of a catio? The kitties aren’t complaining. My mind is whirling with new ideas to make it right…er.

So digging wasn’t hard and the log came out with a good shovel or three and a little leverage and a little grunting and a little lifting with my bare hands…

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Can you see her? Mrs. Docile Tarantula?

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Can you see her now? She was as big as my hand and I have a good-sized hand. I was flipping that log around, heavy as it was, like no tomorrow — trying to get it out of the dirt and moved away so I could dig the other one below it out.

She gave me a little bit of a fright but she was as kind as a big little tarantula with a fury butt can be. I maneuvered around her gingerly. I wrapped the hose around the log and tried to drag it. She moved about trying to make sure she kept herself safe but clung on.

Eventually I figured out a way to get the log moved close to the fence footer and just before the pomegranate tree, piled up on other little logs thinking it could make a habitat that she might make a new home and then scooped her back up in a pitcher and put her on it.

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By the time I got the logs and her moved, I had to use the flash. I hope I didn’t hurt her trying to scoop her.

The picture below is before I got the log moved.

The pond was a little too wet to move the dirt to the mound so that job was put off for tomorrow.

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The toilet is headed to the other end where the yard comes to a point and will make a nice step up to water things over the fence. I just took the strawberries that were in the tank out the other day and put them in a pot.

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I tried to find a way to take a shot of this little Dorsett Apple tree, with all its many apples, where junk wasn’t showing in ever corner…

I had a sheet tied over some arched pipe before I started all this pond stuff. Even though both Anna and Dorsett are supposed to be okay in this desert, they really aren’t that happy. Especially not in the middle of blazing sun all day long.

Some days I want to order a street-side dumpster and clear everything out to have hauled to the landfill and then I remember what I really want to do if I live long enough and the compoost doesn’t hit the fan before we know it…

Inch by inch — junk = dollars that don’t have to be spent — sometimes. Other times it really is just junk. I keep trying to know the difference.

I hope Mrs. Fury Butt doesn’t scare me again tomorrow.

 

 

Sun And Water

Even though it is hotter in the mudroom than the living or bedroom, here I sit. It’s just so cozy and there is a sofa to lie upon or sit more comfortably. All the troublesome upholstery has been eliminated from any room where Lucy goes — she just cannot be trusted — the little she-bug.

No genetic modification shall be employed to eliminate the likes of her kind of cat just because she seems to be a nuisance — sometimes — most of the time, she’s quite a joy.

What gives humans rights to decide who lives and dies? Every.single.thing has purpose.

After a moment or two of adjustment, acclimation occurs and the difference in temps between the mudroom and living room is only noticed if another cup of coffee is required to be fetched.

“I should go work in the bedroom,” self says to me while walking through the relative coolness of the living room.

“I know, I know, but I spend enough time in there already, sleeping and dreaming.”

It was an awful dream last night, or this morning — whenever dreaming occurs. I woke myself up trying to scream and was, in fact, screaming — though somewhat hoarsely. I hope the neighbors didn’t hear.

In the dream, I was trying to bite the hand that was causing me harm. Their hand became rubber and my teeth useless. There was more than one of them. One I recognized from childhood. She thought it was all so funny — me restrained, being tickled and prodded with no ability to help myself.

It was horrible.

In the dream, I tried to scream and nothing would come out. I was absolutely helpless. It seemed that the harder I tried, the worse the lack of ability seemed to get.

I was so very relieved to finally wake up. It took me some time to get the gist that it was just a dream.

The awful dream had to come from the fear of losing my current standard of living. I like being able to hang my towels from the cattle panel arches when they need to dry or disinfect — that is why I have a fence with privacy slats.

I lock all the gates and it has proved to be a happy stance when the co-op came lately to install a new smart meter. If I hadn’t had to greet the man at the gate to let him in, he would likely have gone ahead and done it. Needless to say, I did not unlock the gate. He had apparently heard the words I said enough times by then that he wasn’t a bit shocked and turned to walk away — with a smile mind you. He was very kind. He did not try to sway me.

“No! I won’t have one of those, thank you. I shall do without electricity if I must.”

The trouble is, the City won’t allow anyone to reside without electricity but the co-op has a monopoly. I have no choices.

The real fear in the dream is clear. It is the fear of an unsolicited jab. A thing I don’t agree on. That is where I stick my picket pin.

When June 20 comes along, and the power of the sun starts its decline, I shall proclaim my belief in nature as the only real power over me. I shall say it to the ether but it shall have the same amount of power just as if I’d said it to GOD. It may be just as powerful simply to think it.

When December 21 comes along and the sun starts its rise back to full electric sway, I shall proclaim it once again, “Nature is the only one who rules over me.”

Sun and water is everything.

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We’re about to enter Monsoon Season. Until then, if anything is to be kept alive, water has to come from the City through hoses or buckets from previous rain water harvesting.

The poor little strawberry plant that had been in the toilet tank was discovered lacking lately and put into a container to bring over to its friends to be more carefully looked after.

Shame on me.

These two need careful looking after too. Water, water every day. Do not look away.

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These three just needed a little shade, away from the blazing of direct sun. They are amazing in that they took it for so long and bounced back so naturally and beautifully — I must say. The top two you can see, came over before the other. It might need to boot out the soldier and take that spot to get even a little less dappled light.

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This mint was a birthday present a year ago. It’s been a struggle from the start but isn’t it just lovely? Wait another hour — it might wilt for you.  The cage is intended to boost its shade even though its feet are in the ground that gets the first shade of the day — the north side of the house along the sidewalk. Water, water every day. Do not look away. Twice a day won’t hurt it. It’s putting on some flowers.

A lot of greening has gone on since the day I landed here. Not nearly enough. It’s very hard to get things that are green to remain. Anything that can shall be let to. That’s my motto now.

“If you can take it here, you can stay.” Who am I to say that they should leave? Slowly but surely I am learning — nature knows a lot more than I do.

Seems In Order

Lucy came in the other day and didn’t want back out until late late. We had a great day in each other’s company. It did make me realize that I may want to get a blow up mattress so that I can stretch out somewhere to relax when the bedroom and mudroom are closed off to traffic. It has to be something plastic.

The pictures of her in the chair show how she responds to talking. I say, “You’re such a pretty little girl,” and she rolls all over eventually exposing her tum tum — very unusual for her — she loves total control.

Another rough piece of wood was put on the top shelf of the metal frame and she went right for it. It has been secured with string so it doesn’t slip off as she claws it and bounces around.

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It will be lashed a little better. She came in again today. She is right now below me, curled up on a rug braced by the roller of the chair. Mickey came in for about five minutes before he got completely bored. They are both fully utilizing the catio — much to my delight. I’m going to try to grow some clover in the soil inside on the bottom for them.

It’s so hot now that it’s hard to be out unless it’s fairly early and just long enough to water things. There was a big black bumble looking flyer among other butterflies and bees enjoying the mama chaste tree today.

It will likely be a regret, but most tree’s of heaven are being left to grow. They are considered invasive here by most, but they are about the only thing that is useful for getting lots of cooling growth and shade in short order. They do grow like weeds. The thing about them is, they are a little like bamboo in that they can be cut down for their sticks before long — and, if it’s absolutely necessary, it isn’t impossible to get the roots out. They grow prolifically from lateral roots — rhizomes. They also grow from seeds and they produce millions of seeds. It’s really a matter of giving in and letting nature have her way and simply working with her. Somehow they got here. The value of any kind of deciduous shade can’t be exaggerated much.

Background

Tree-of-heaven was first introduced into the United States in the Philadelphia area in 1784. Immigrants later introduced tree-of-heaven to the West Coast in the 1850s. It was initially valued as an urban street tree and was widely planted in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area. From these areas, tree-of-heaven has spread and become a common invasive plant in urban, agricultural, and forested areas.

Description

Size: Tree-of-heaven has rapid growth and can grow into a very large tree, reaching heights of 80 to 100 feet and up to 6 feet in diameter.

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All the while the trees of heaven are marching on wildly in giant spurts of growth, this little elm tree sputters along with lots of personal attention. I suppose that once it is established, it may fair better on its own. Trees of heaven can be completely ignored and nothing will go wrong. They want for nothing but the sun it seems. Good example for survival.

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Pretty sure that the above is a fruitless mulberry brought in by wind or bird. It was in a pot for a couple of years and finally asked to be anchored in the soil for more room to set its roots. It’s not as slow as the elm, but nowhere near the speed of the invasive bunch and needs regular water. There is one, (or two or three), of the invaders right to the left of it — they often grow in clumps of several. Water or not, they grow merrily along.

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After watching a recent video from Colette O’Neill over in Ireland with her Bealtaine Cottage glory, it is pretty clear that nature has all the answers and whatever else that comes along to try to intercede will not be anything nature can’t compete with. It may even be that this is nature’s time for glory.

Listening to mother nature seems to hold the only key for how to rise above the fray to ride on the top of this wave.

Chanting seems in order.

Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō

Peace out! And lots of luck to anyone who’s listening.

Turns Into Something

Up earlier than usual and it is always good to be. The kitties came inside for a spell to be loved up, brushed and admired. It wasn’t long before they wanted back out to their studio. They have really staked that claim.

After taking them back out, time was spent sitting next to the kitty cage to admire cardinals, a turtle and some pretty green things with flowers and fruit — pomegranates, plums and strawberries. The hose was left way too long in the wheelbarrow yesterday while someone was distracted bending wire to hold fencing on a wrought iron gate and it got flooded. It proceeded to drain right out but it seems to have given the berries a dose of saturation that they appear to be happy about. A plum is eaten here and there. It seems birds are staying away due to strays??

Through the years, mama chaste tree has produced many little babies. In the south forty triangle lot, (where the catio is), three were planted in tires filled with really good composted soil. One of the three is a whiter shade of purple, more pink. I suspect the birds or wind brought a seed from somewhere else. The bees are happy they are all getting flowers. There are many babies in need of places to be. I’m in a crowding phase since nothing food seems to want to grow. The thought is to get as much oxygen producers growing that will shade things and maybe things will like to grow in containers under them.

My Little Homestead is in an Arizona desert too and they rave about wicking beds and aquaponics. I just can’t see that because it is so product oriented and requires too many appliances. Not that I’m against people having success with it all. I want to find the ways to grow that the indigenous Indians here have always done.

After sitting with the kitties, a routine round-about inspection was done. There are so many messes everywhere but everything has an intention to be something — as time permits.

Here’s mama chaste tree in the front. She’s full of flowers too — and bees.

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Under her is where the lettuce grew from old seeds broadcast just to see what would sprout where. It’s all been let go to bolt so seeds can be collected to try it all again.

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Sometime back it was mentioned about the “stealing” of some palo verde trees from the schoolyard where they had sprouted under their mommies. About twelve were dug out and brought to try to nurse to grow up and be planted. Several have been put in the ground and are growing. This one waited far too long to put on leaves — it caused some worry. Delighted to see the leaves.

The rose bush is happier since it was figured out she needed much deeper watering. This sand just doesn’t hold it.

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Petuny got a haircut. She’s been around for numerous cycles and I just can’t get over her resilience. See all the baby chaste trees around her — and there are several more farther out.

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Sometimes things get worse before they get better. There are many little trees that were planted early fall. Most of them are doing rather well. It certainly doesn’t seem worth it to purchase anything from Walmart. Petuny is the only thing that has amounted to anything. All the little trees were either volunteers, started from seeds, or propagated right from here. I guess the mama chaste tree can be included in Walmart successes.

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Yes…I took the risk of trying spray paint on the catio. The thought was that it couldn’t look much worse. The most important thing is that the kitties seem to love it — Lucy especially. Mickey is still a little skittish. She went right out the minute she got back into the studio and marched all over everything that’s in there.

It looks like a methhead lives here.

Oh, to have all the money in the world. I’m just grateful I had enough to get a cattle panel to bend into an arch. The rest was years and years of messes all around. See, it finally turns into something.

Meanwhile, back in the house, the second bedroom is getting back up to snuff to use for sewing. As much as possible is coming in from the studio and put into plastic tubs. The next phase is to reorganize the covered patio by taking the things there over to the covered carport that has been recently worked on to be the place for technical things like tools and paint and — you know — that kind of stuff.

More from the studio will be put into tubs and the covered patio will be its new home. The goal being to keep things safe from kitties and for the studio to someday be turned in to something better — like a greenhouse.

Always have a dream.

Some T-shirt yarn in one of the tubs now in the sewing room was turned into a plant hanger to hold the beautiful succulent my succulent expert friend sent me just a little while back as a total little sunshine surprise. Thank you Loey. The link above will take you right to her wonderful Etsy store.

What shall be worked on today? There is always something good to be done.