First Hike 2014

19Apr14_DSCF2378Not quite sure where we were, but we had out first hike of 2014 this past Saturday.

We were out exploring last Wednesday and found what looked like an interesting mountain to hike, so on Saturday we left early for the hike.  Like I mentioned, I have no idea what the mountain or area is called, I just know that it on either BLM or State land.  When I download my GPS data I will 19Apr14_DSCF2385look a bit closer at the map to get some names.  What caught our interest in this mountain was the color of the cliffs, which were a yellowish-green color. Looking closer we saw that is was some type of lichen that was only growing on these cliffs.

Anyway, the day of the hike was quite warm, starting out in the upper 40’s and getting up to the low 70’s with a nice cooling wind/breeze.  The hike up was steep but steady, climbing 1000 feet in about 0.65 miles.  The top of the ridge was approximately 5800 feet high, giving us a great view of the area surrounding us. 

Once we got to the top, it was a gentle 1.75 or so mile hike along the ridge to the end.  We could have continued on, and may come back for an extended hike in the future. But for now, we just want to do some short exploratory hikes first so see what each area surrounding us has to offer. 

One thing was we really enjoyed was the variety and abundance of wild flowers.  They were small, but very pretty.  I took quite a few pictures, but unfortunately, it was quite windy which made the flowers move, causing some very blurry pictures.  I am posting some of the less blurry ones, and hopefully will return with a better camera on a calmer day.

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I always find it amazing when I find a plant or tree growing where nothing else similar is growing.  This picture is of a tree attempting to grow on the very edge of the ridge.  There are no other trees growing within a mile of this one in the first picture.  We also have a picture of Micha and Misty on the ridge, and in the car the Wednesday prior as we were exploring the area.  Oh, if you Juneau people want to see what a real deer looks like, the last picture is for you!

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A Lot Complete–Much More to Go.

10Apr14_300_1775One of our many surprises with this property can be seen on the left.  This one of our many tulips that sprang to life this spring in one of our fields.  I am not sure how many tulips we actually have, but if you count the very small ones, I imagine the number is close to 40 or 50.  So far, we have orange, red, and white.  We also found a couple patches of beautiful blue Hyacinths.  If you split all of the Hyacinths they could number close to 75 or more.  We are in the process of10Apr14_DSC_1791 transferring the tulips and Hyacinths from their present locations to new patches that will be out of the way of the rototiller and mower.   I did not post pictures of the Hyacinths as it was very windy when I was taking pictures and they really did not turn out well.  Soon though.

We also knew that there  were several old and un-cared for grape vines on the property.  They were left to fend for themselves, and were basically a mess.  Two of them are too large to dig up and move, so I will build a trellis for them.  I dug up 4 and transplanted them to a new grape/berry garden that I am developing.  I have an additional 8 Cabernet Sauvignon and 5 or 6 table grape plants coming.  Additionally, two more apple and 2 Asian pear trees, and 6 berry plants are one the way.  This will give us 16-plus fruit trees, 19 or so grape vines, one almond tree, and at least 15 various berry vines. 

As I posted earlier, the fruit trees in the orchards are starting to bloom, and so are some of our trees.  On the 10Apr14_300_1764left is one of out very old plum trees blossom.  The trees has to be at least 35 years old, if not older, and not really doing that good.  To try to help it become healthier, we pruned it and cleared the surrounding area.  I will feed it later in the season.  I dug up one of this trees “children”, which sprouted from an injured root area and transplanted it to the (proposed) herb garden.  I am not sure if it is going to live, but I wanted to try as it was either transplant it or cut it down.

We also have an old almond tree that is simply beautiful in bloom.  If you have 10Apr14_300_1768never seen an almond blossom, the image on the right if for you!  We had almonds last year, but were really not sure what they were at first.  Since we now know what type of tree it is, and how beautiful it is, we will do what we can to help it continue to grow, but like most of the trees and plants on the property, it was not really well looked after.

While this is a desert, it does rain quite a bit in the spring.  What does rain bring?  Weeds.  Lots of weeds.  The image on the left is of the neighbors field of weeds – 10Apr14_300_1773blue mustard.  We have blue mustard, yellow mustard, cheat grass, annual rye grass, and a few others that were identified by the Marsing Cooperative Extension Service – very helpful folks.  For out fields, I attached the sickle bar mower to my BCS 852, and three very tiring hours later, we had a nice, neat field. 

For the past month, we have been putting in 8 – 10 hour days in the field, building coops, fences, and garden beds, as well and maintaining and modifying the lawn and house garden area.  Finally, the major work is done and we can start to cut down a bit.  Today, it was only a 5 hour day, putting the final touches on the coop, fence, and transplanting a few vines. The below pictures are of the finished fence, and coop – complete with chickens!  There were 13 chickens in the coop since last night.  I opened the door this afternoon, and 7 figured out how to fly down to the grass – I am going to check in a few minutes to see how many figured out how to make it back inside, as it is getting dark.

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It is now time to take a bit of a rest (until Saturday when I start completing the irrigation plan for and various gardens and start on the herb garden, which is a 30 foot diameter circle garden, and maybe find some time in the next 5 days to do my taxes – maybe!

Sunrise With Morning Coffee.

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