Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ranch Home Off Grid

Front yard BEFORE PHOTO Weed cutting

My new life on the ranch. Off grid.

Days roll along stealing time. Long lists on yellow pads flow as rivers. Try to limit daily chores to achievable ends. Lists reappear next day to be re-written. Good, keeping mind and body busy.
I grieve loss of Honey. Her presence at home for fourteen plus years was sweet. She’s the kindest soul in the universe. Because of moving and repairing new digs I'm home more often. The hours when she followed me about as our family Nanny ache in my back. I pretend I still have requirements to get up early to take her out to relieve herself. But she isn’t here on earth.

The lot below the house is cleared. Weed whacking the acre took two days. My hands hurt from the vibration. Running a mower over land untended would toss boulders into the blades and ruin the machine. This is gloves on hands shovel work. With the first course of cut, pile, and dig out roots now black tarps blanket the soil. On top of the inky river cardboard boxes from moving add weight. Cover the soil to kill seeds and make it uncomfortable for rabbits, voles, rats and snakes.

Next duty is securing the chain link fence. Before moving I toyed with cutting truck loads of willow branches and weaving waddle fences to hide the industrial appearance of metal wire. I have elaborate drawings of my gorgeous waddle fences as if I’m in a temperate Irish hillside. Those dreams are on hold. For now it is urgent to secure the fence from the National Forest and her critters. Small pests attract predators who pose real dangers. I’ve seen two rattlesnakes, a bobcat, and a mountain lion. Other creatures- couple male deer, coyotes, rabbits and raccoon s are visible but less ominous. On the yellow to do list is to dig an eight inch trench under the chain link fence, add fine gauge wire under and up in an L shape then bury with concrete and rocks.

Blair and I picked up pullets over the hill at Kohoots. She didn’t want to mail order baby chicks. She thought it cruel to ship them across the country in a cardboard box. I didn’t have the heart to tell her, and I don’t really know but I think the fuzz balls are born in a hatchery. Our main ranch has egg layers. We plan for a small flock of chicken pets who are interested in eating bugs up at the house. Daughter is set on raising Silkies and mild mannered Polish. She tells me as if reading from the Farmer’s Almanac, “Bantams means small home pet style chickens, it’s not a breed Mom.”
I Will post photographs of the baby chicks today.

I’m pleased with my make do clothes line. Again I researched then adapted plans to real life. Amazon has numerous upright cage clothes lines. Cost around two hundred dollars to four hundred. Forget it. I read a lovely blog post about Amish clothes lines. Ah, the aroma of summer in sheets and the music of children laughing as they hand their Momma pins. Stop. Okay so I had some 2 X 4’s left over from repairing the chicken coops. These long poles will stand in the rear of the house to hold up my three dollar Wallmart canvas line. Not as romantic as a pulley system from my kitchen window, but functional for now. Cost for clothes line -$3.00. I will make a rock step to access the hillside in coming months, for now there is the old ladder. (Reminds me about accidents on ladders…) Plenty of rocks here, perhaps this land was an ancient river bed?

After driving around abandoned lots across Ortega Highway looking for their office I contacted Sierra Compost. Her email says, “we closed the commercial lot, no longer have offices for cost savings.” Sierra Compost will deliver five yards when I'm done with the fence security next week.

Big on the list is to install phone reception. Cell phone isn’t working at home. I bought two different boosters (junk doesn't work.) Called ATT 17 times from my office. They say they will send me an operable micro something to boost the cell service. According to Public Utilities Commission since they are my only emergency phone possible they should provide access. It remains suspenseful IF the booster box shows up at Post Office Box.

What else shall I share on my list? Son comes home from college next week. Blair sorting her boxes emptied. Living room disorganized. Paintings wait to be hung. Plumbing issues ninety percent operational. Losing the war on critters.
BUT having fun! No electric bill, no so Cal Gas bill, no Cox cable bill and debt free.

Much love from my new home, the Rancho - Off Grid
Copyright 6/5/2016 Caroline Gerardo

Front yard before I moved in
Front yard organic solarizing the weeds and seeds

Black plastic tarps kill weeds

Simple clothes line
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