Saturday, March 12, 2016


it has been a crazy week..   its lambing time.  the babies came fast and furious all week.  six in total, however one pair of very teeny tiny twins didn't survive.  the four remaining are large and beautiful and healthy,  and busy.  they jump and play together.  they even gum at the hay just like mom,  even though their nourishment really comes from their moms.  they are too cute, and its my favorite time of season..   the baby bunnies all arrived week before last.  ten new meat rabbits and six mini Rex.  the Rex were bred for 4-h bunnies.  it seems its hard to find small rabbits out here so we bred some. we rehomed a couple of them to a couple from Tucson for house pets..  imagine my shock when i found out you can litter train them.

the porch has exploded with start plants.  the aquaponics is out of room already, and has to be expanded.  the  greenhouse has to be relined thanks to the crazy spring winds.  the hoop house is like a sauna from the sun.  the figs are in love with the hoop house.  so the check list for jobs to do is out of control.  the expansion on the  garden is progressing.  it needs some leveling and it will be ready for lots of strawberries.  we have two fields ready for grain crops for the sheep, alfalfa in one but they really like that oat hay.

getting materials and fish ready for the small catfish pond.  and a new workawayer coming in this weekend. yeah,  we need the help.

things will ramp up even more after frost threat and the vegetable  plants start going in.  this place is turning into my new name for it "CRAZY TOWN"  hope your week is great, deb

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

late february in arizona

busy busy busy.  working on spring starts for the garden and aquaponics and this year expanded to a small hoop house for extra seed room.  most of the seeds are heirlooms that we generated last fall and so far so good.  with the tractor acquired we have spend a lot of time prepping ground this fall and winter.  many of the tree starts we have been growing from infancy are now able to be planted, this is next weeks project.  the fertilizers are on the gardens prepping the soils,  nature handled this one in the form of horse manure. some leveling needs done in the fields then we wait for mother nature to plant.  by giving the plants some early grow time we will advance the grow season.  this works very well for this area.  the massive temperature changes that can jump into the 100 degree mark will begin thru June,  most of the plants cant take this heat so the reasoning is early in and early out helps erases that problem for us.  summer garden will be prepping in the greenhouses during this time waiting for the heat to build for monsoon, then the summer long term crops will be planted with the help of the rain to keep them cooled and watered to maturity.

walked the orchard we planted last year and the fruit trees are showing buds and some leafing.  we water all the plants thru the winter months as well.  this helps grow the roots.  makes a healthier tree and more productive.  barring disasters we should see some fruits this year.  the peach trees are a year or two older and they  produced some fruit last year, hoping for bigger yield this year.

the pasture next to the sheep pen has been prepped for alfalfa.  we will have to wait to plant until last chance of frost is over.  but the sheep have plenty of grasses to eat till then.  hoping for babies from them soon.

it is spring time at the farm.  two sets of baby bunnies are growing fast and rowdy.  one breed  is a mini rabbit.  these are so cute and round and fuzzy.  they will be great bunnies for local kids 4-h projects or just for fun.  we have five of these.  most are a black and white mix or brown and white,  but one is solid brown just like mama.  the new bunnies just arrived two days ago.  they are well covered in wood chips and lots of hair mama pulled from her fur.  the wiggles looked to be a count of seven or eight.  these are meat rabbits.  they will stay with mama till they finish nursing.  having never been around rabbits i will say they grow so very fast.

we are in spring wind season right now and it has been fast and furious this week  if its not anchored its in the fence row.  guess that will be next weeks project.  we have started seeing some temperatures in the eighties so i don't expect  a long wait for spring.  

the new chickens are advancing their production again.  and several pullets are laying tiny little round eggs.  practicing for their summer job.  now if i could just keep the crazy Guinea out of the pen the roosters would settle and stop spending their day chasing that crazy bird.

hope everyone has a great week.  talk soon, deb

Sunday, January 24, 2016

very early spring training

very busy with seed planting right now.  green house is loaded.  new greenhouse hoop set up for install next week.  that should allow us an extra few months for spring and fall plants.  the residents of the wintering green house have done very well.  we have had some chills out here this winter but all still look healthy.  doing triple gardens this year and sowing some alfalfa for the sheep.  we hope to add some new livestock this spring as well.  maybe a couple goats again, and turkeys.  we are even looking at maybe a calf.  should be a great learning year for all of us.

the aquaponics are rebuilt and planted.  spring greens doing well.  we have decided to do a massive upgrade to the aquaponics.  the additional system will use a great deal of the remaining room in the building.  we will run companion planting in that set of beds to coordinate with the plants in outside gardens.  we had a large vegetable loss last year do to freaky Arizona summer weather, this year we hope to head that off, in spite of El Nino.

this week was manure week.  some disking to do and then just waiting on spring.  several of the trees that have been growing in the greenhouses and nurseries are transplanting to the great outdoors this week.  with any luck we might make shade yet.

spring isn't here yet, but it takes a lot of work to get ready for it.   we have had some temperature spikes in the 50 and 60's the last couple weeks.  made it great to be outside.  still cold at night but nothing the wood stove can't handle.

the catfish pond is looking good,  we will stock later in the spring.  a couple that came out and stayed for the winter added another dog to the mix.  he is a young German Shepard and a sweet puppy,  he was afraid of everything when he got here.  now he has made friends and they all love to play.  i believe that brings the total to seven.  oh my.  i wouldn't want to be a burglar.

drop a line and let me know how your winter is going.  doesn't sound very nice in parts of the country right now.  try not to wear out those snow shovels.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Christmas has come and gone.  we are enjoying the wait for a new year.  plans are being drawn for new year projects and we await the next set of workawayers scheduled for march.  the work away program has been such a joy for us this year.  so many young people from so many countries,  so many different foods and customs and slang sayings.  its been a real joy for us to host these people and give them a chance to see southern Arizona.

the aquaponics are still on hold in our living room until the fish can be relocated to warming tanks.  the temperature here has been crazy for winter.  very little fall just straight to teens at night.  not good for tilapia, they require above 48 degrees, so we have large aquariums that we are enjoying in the house.  the fish love playing in the air bubblers, we made them some tubes to go back and forth in and that seems to be fun for them.  they are still growing and should have several pairs ready for breeding in the spring.

some of the workawayers  have stayed on for the winter but are doing their own thing for the holidays.  some are in Prescott playing in the snow, and one went to Mississippi for a month, and we are home minding the farm.  we think we will have lambs soon,  the sheep are so big they must be pregnant.  time will tell.  the bunnies were bred again this week, and we have dogs everywhere.  the new chickens are laying well,  what a surprise,  we keep them well fed to push up production and its working.

as for me I'm waiting on warm sunshine so my feet will thaw out.  i don't like cold.  I'm ever thankful its a short winter season here.  my big project this week is putting this leather sewing room in some kind of order so i can get busy.  have some things i want to make and no space.  when you live in a small house room is at a premium.

hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and will enjoy great plans for their new year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

busy week

we have six work away people out here at the moment.  everyone is so busy but the to do list is getting checked off really fast.  one of the couples have decided to stay for awhile but the rest move on with their lives next week.  its been crazy nuts around here with the strange weather.   we couldn't get the tilapia moved fast enough from the big pond and the weather got a large amount of those,  the rest are in very large aquariums in the house for a few months.  the grow tanks got scrubbed down and four large grow beds for the veggies got installed.  its almost replanting time.  everyone has been excited to help with the aquaponic system,  most came here just to learn that system,  they also got good info on expanding one of these system and how to clean, prep, and build from scratch one of these system for themselves.  most of our help is from France and Germany right now and they intend to set up systems back home.

 the weather here is about a month and a half ahead of schedule.  we are in the teens at night.  this is the stuff we don't usually see until January.  leaves the question what will we get then.  right now at night lots of blankets are your best friend.   and of course the wood stove.  still beautiful thru the day.  we shed coats and jackets about eleven then go find them again when the sun starts fading into the mountain about five o'clock.

all of the workers have had a large range of skill.  the garden is planted.  one built a new bunny hut. we have newly  built gates.  the hay is getting cut and stored for the sheep and we are still expecting lambs soon.  the plan  is new chickens and a couple goats for milking and maybe a feed calf.  i'm pretty sure that is the only way we will ever see beef out here again.  the price at the store is crazy out here for beef.  we cleaned out the freezer this week,  time for butchering.  the drive got trimmed up and the holes from monsoon filled in and even some pretty landscaping was done at the drive entrance.  will be pretty in the spring when we can add some flowers to it.  and maybe best of all some one organized all the tools.  now we can find a screwdriver when we need it.  they even found the missing hammers.  be still my heart.

hope everyone has a great winter and its what you hope it will be.


Monday, November 2, 2015

nov 2 2015

wow been a busy fall season.  we have had many work away helpers and a lot of things got finished that we have been working on for quite a while.  we even had one guy that stayed on for awhile so we could take a vacation to Indiana to see family.  that was a bonus for us.  not easy to do  with our schedules, especially considering he had to handle both of our jobs each day.  i think now he knows why i never get caught up.  thank you Dave.  fall plants are starting to produce,  winter crop is coming up and i brought back lots of new seeds to try.  gonna be a busy greenhouse.  new aquaponics grow trays made and to be installed in the next week so i'll be ready for winter growing inside.   the fish are growing and still increasing in quantity.  we might need to do a pond clean out before winter and that will give us a better count on the number of fish still in the big pond.  signs of late fall setting in and winter isn't too far off.  i have a new set of lists for the winter months and a change of season for the to do list.  living off grid produces its own set of changes out here, we will be bringing in wood for the wood stove, and the solar panels have already been adjusted for the change of placement of the sun.  we will have rough winter winds and everything will need to be stashed or anchored.  the days will be shorter and the jobs are many.  we still have help coming and that will help us prepare for spring, our busiest time.  most of our winter jobs will depend on daily weather, rain, wind, cold, and darkness. weather can change up the schedule on any given day.  the hunters are moving into the area for fall hunting.  seems odd to see travel trailer parked on the blm land but its a short season, wish them luck.  the coyotes getting noisier at night and the dogs are busy keeping them away from the homestead.  we have a new ram, pretty boy is his name.  he is snow white and the girls seem to like him.  the other ram jumped the fence twice while we were gone and he has been sentenced to the old goat pen.  he hasn't figured how to get out of that yet.  much to catch up on today, starting with emptying the car and restocking groceries.  wishing everyone a great week.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


such big changes here at the homestead.  we have had many visitors and a great deal of help getting the fish and grow beds under roof.  the baby fish have been sorted for growth size and put in tanks to correspond with growth rate.  the mature breeding pairs are busy doing what they do.  and summer is winding into fall.  fall planting in the garden is in full swing, and winter areas are getting prepped for  winter crops.  last week i replanted the lettuce, chard, spinach, kale and green beans to the aquaponics.  trying green beans for first time due to crop failure in the garden.  we had a very bad summer season.  no one knows why but wide spread out here in the desert.  i even added some fresh sweet peas to the ponics and they are blooming.  the greens will help supplement the house late into fall and by then we will be enjoying the fall plants.  the weather has been crazy.  august heated up like June out here and took us back to 100 degree range, not a happy occurrence for the garden, however it set off a new round of monsoon.  trade off i guess.  the rain has helped the plants but hurt the solar.  like everywhere, you deal with what you are given.  the greenhouse is busy starting plants for new grow beds for the fish system and for the garden.  once again I'm running out of greenhouse room.  this last round of high heat has made everyone eager for some cooler temps.   fall will be a welcomed change this year.  we have landscaping about to begin and some new fencing for the sheep.  turns out they never get full of grass, so we just move them around.  and lucky for me the ram is locked in the pen for future duration,  its not nice to put the hand that feeds you on the ground, again. hope summer treated you well and fall is even better.  deb