Yellopig Is Free

Or, Recreating A Life From Scratch

Archive for the tag “rocks”

The Digging Continues

Winter is over! Yes, the temperatures have been in the 80s several times already, but there was a brief (2-day) cool spell last week that I counted as “wintry” weather. That’s all over now, and all the mesquites have sprouted leaves, and that means they think we’re done with cold nights. And none too soon for me!

The old garden bed has sprouted too, with corn and peas and lettuce, and even some carrots I think, leftover seeds that didn’t grow last year. It looks like the spinach & sunflowers didn’t make it — old seeds, I think. I need to get more. The netting is preventing the birds from eating everything as soon as I plant it, so that’s working just right. I didn’t have room for potatoes, since they don’t seem to like growing in the same spot two years in a row, so that’s just more incentive to get this hole dug quicker.

And work is progressing there:


Yes, I still haven’t cut & capped that irrigation pipe. That would require going into town and buying caps, and that hasn’t really risen to the top of my agenda yet. Maybe next weekend.

Meanwhile, the big rock emerging in the north end of the hole has now shown itself to be at least twice as big as it appeared last time:


Shown here again with the sandal for size comparison.


No idea how that dirty foot keeps showing up in the pictures! Anyway, last time, the triangular bit on the front face and the ridge at the top of the rock was all that was showing. It’s definitely a bit of a whale. I still need to uncover more of it before I start planning its removal.

And here’s the growing dirt pile:


It only rained once in February, and once so far this month (that cold spell), so we’re just a bit more than an inch above normal YTD. Rain really is magical for the vegetable plants: they accept the water I give them from the well, but when it rains they really look happy. Maybe an extra inch of rain over a three-month period isn’t such a bad thing.


Hole Update, Plus: Chores!

First, an update on the garden bed progress. The pile of dirt is growing more quickly now, and I need a wider angle to get it all into the picture.


It now reaches halfway across the space I had planned for it. I guess that’s good, since the hole is about half as deep as I want it to be, but I’m seeing the corner of the garden fence getting closer, and I’m starting to think about running out of room.

And the next layer of dirt is out of the hole.


The rocks are getting bigger and more numerous now. In fact, I think I’m starting to see a moby-sized one appearing at the north (upper) end of the hole, just below and to the left of the white rock sticking out of the wall there. Here’s a close-up:


Size 8 sandal shown for comparison. Dirty foot should be ignored.

OK, the real reason I’m showing all these pictures of the garden bed under construction is because (and you are forgiven for not believing this) I’m terrible at taking before-and-after pictures. I’m trying to get better at this, with only moderate success. As seen below.

I remember mowing the grass in Florida. I had (have!) a reel-type mower, and the grass there grows three inches a week in the summer, so most days I’d be out chewing down the grass. It was great exercise, but there were days when I heard about yards in the desert covered with rocks, and I dreamed about how “maintenance-free” such a yard would be. Now I have one of those rock-covered yards, and it isn’t quite as maintenance-free as it seemed, although it isn’t the three-days-a-week ordeal that hand-mowing in Florida summer was. Now it’s more like twice a year weeding and the bi-annual rock grooming.

The “decorative rock” that covers the whole front yard and circles the back yard are just stones that have been hauled in and poured over the dirt. When you order them, you get to pick a color for the rocks; mine are mostly reddish. Anyway, there’s nothing but gravity holding them in place, and sometimes that gravity is not my friend. Wherever the level of the rocks is slightly higher than the surrounding dirt, the rocks have a tendency to run away, and I have to round them up and herd them back where they came from. In other places, where the rocks are slightly below the surrounding dirt, the dirt drifts over them when it rains and then the rocks need to be disinterred. And (did I mention?) it rained a lot last year. But the truth is, decorative rock looks so much more decorative when it’s on top of the dirt.

2015 was the year for rock grooming, but the rock grooming didn’t happen. I blame the extra rains, and the fact that there were more engrossing excavations going on in the yard last year. It’s not that I was ignoring those rocks though. Each day when I went out, I looked at those rocks and thought about their increasingly scruffy appearance, thought “Ugh!”, and passed them right by. This year, I will be paying for my negligence.

If I were good at before-and-after pictures, I would have taken some before I started. But I forgot. So here is one where I had just cleared the crevices between the red slate pavers and barely started the next section:


At the left is a small area I’ve already worked. Almost the entire right side of the picture, where you can see a small number of scattered stones, is the work I have yet to do. And that’s just the little section between the red slate walkway and the recovery tree moat. Another large section on the other side of the walkway and on past the garden is lurking as well.


Most of what looks like dirt there is actually buried decorative rock. The rocks above the French drain (rounded gray rocks) are holding pretty firm, but the outside is looking very ragged. At some point, I’m going to need to dig out the drain as well, since it doesn’t work well when it’s full of dirt. Later, later…

I think I heard somewhere that playing in the dirt is good for you and raises your serotonin levels. So let me grab my handy little claw tool and go herd those rocks!

The Hole is Halfway Done

This little critter was showing off for me this week. It’s a Harris’ antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus harrisii), standing on the tarp over the dirt pile in the backyard. It stood there for quite a while and let me get several pictures before running off.


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2015 Year-End Hole Pictures

Big sigh here. WordPress isn’t taking my photos lately, so I had to arrange for an alternate storage location. Much of the problem is probably due to poor rural Internet service, although WP is trying to make me buy a new computer too, so there’s that…

Anyway, here are the big year-end pictures of my lovely second garden bed! So yay.

Photobucket Photos

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Hole #2: The Adventure Begins

I have more critter pictures, but I didn’t want to bore you with them while there is exciting news in excavations around the yard!

Truth: I was getting bored. The digging and sifting of dirt from the tree moat is almost finished. I walked around the stone maze about a hundred times, rearranged it and walked it some more.

20150815-123153.jpgHere’s a fun thing I did last month: the Netroots Nation conference was in Phoenix this year, so I went to that. There were so many interesting seminars & speeches & and stuff to see. Rep. Raúl Grijalva was on our trivia contest team! I skipped the Sheriff Joe Arpaio protest march, but I saw several progressive senators & representatives speak, and went to Bernie Sanders’ evening rally too. It was all pretty neat! 😀

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Mesquite in Recovery

OK, this is more like it!


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Mesquite in Therapy

This tree needs help.

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