Monday, April 11, 2016

I'm Baaaack and We Go To Sequoia

"Spring has sprung. The grass is riz. I wonder where the flowers is?" - Margie Engelbrecht Benoit (my mom)

Here at our new place one need only look out the back door and you know instantly where the flowers "iz". They're everywhere!  You give Nature enough water and she takes advantage of it. As a matter of fact I'm pretty impressed with Ma Nature. Her seeds lie dormant for years. You'd think they'll never come back and then... they do! The Earth will endure.
We had a rainstorm last night. I thought we were through with rain. We have flooding. The back part of the acreage is a lake but I don't care. Drought is no picnic.
We're settling in to our new place. I can't decide what to call it. It's too small to be a ranch and not big enough to be a farm. It's an acreage for sure. It will be a homestead for sure. There's time. Maybe I can get some suggestions from you fine people?
Tonight I steamed broccoli, sauteed asparagus with green garlic and to top it off I baked baby yams in their jackets. Yes, this time of year is bliss.

On other fronts we got our weed patch under control. Marty now regrets deeply that he sold his ancient tractor last year. We could have used it to disc the garden area. He hates renting equipment so he's scouring the ads for a new used tractor. They're really high around here. It's a big farming community and small tractors are super useful in the vineyards and orchards. California Central Valley. Truck farming capital of America.

I told him I wanted to make sure we disked the weeds into the dirt to add organic matter. I did a quick test for composition. Looks like what I suspected is true. Sandy loam clay or maybe just sandy loam. The clay layer is just barely discernable this morning.
The bottom is the sand, the next is the silt, the tiny top layer is clay. No, not that huge layer. Look really close. The real clay is a teeny tiny layer.
I'll need to incorporate compost, manures, bio-char, and old mulch to enhance it. This, by the way, is a dream come true after enduring 4 years of heavy clay soil. I mean really heavy. Heavy as lead it seemed. I stuck the gardening fork in yesterday and I don't need to yell for help. I can turn it myself. Today I planted potatoes from the store that had sprouted. Bliss.
Then because all work and no play makes us a dull boy we decided to hit the road for Giant Sequoia National Monument.

On the way up we see drought stressed trees that were killed by bark beetles.
I can't stand next to the tree which would give you a very clear idea how gigantic it is. People larking about on the root system is a very bad idea.

When people first heard about the big trees in the 1800s they thought is was a joke.

On the way back we encounter beautiful rain clouds.