Archive for the ‘Pasture Management’ Category

All Hail My Husband- King of the Underbrush

Check out this meadow:

All of those low, gray piles are debris left from my most wonderful and talented husband taking down all the Acacia trees. Where you see piles of brush was where the view stops, now we can see five more acres than we could before. In fact, today is a day for celebrating because Dave took down the last known Acacia tree on the property. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t thousands of seeds on the ground wanting to sprout but I can hack down tiny trees  with my pointy-tip hoe.

There I was appreciating the view, when my husband arrived driving this:

It’s  truck wearing a ghillie suit! This is Dave’s patented Prunedale method of brush removal. All of this is brush is being relocated to a safe-burn area. Next week, when it’s legal to burn again, Dave will be sparking up some 30 foot piles of debris. Unlike Santa Cruz county, there’s no limit to the size of burn piles you can have in Monterey. Oc course, that doesn’t stop your neighbor up the hill from calling the fire department. Last week, he had his first encounter with North Monterey County Fire. Needless to say, he name dropped in order to buy himself some time to find his burn permit. everything turned out OK. We’re legal and we didn’t start the fire. It’s been burning since the world’s been turning.

Stay tuned this week as I will be starting pepper seeds and admiring the view even more. In the meantime, admire this:

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Barbarians at the Gate

We finally got the gate up on the back road and might I say, it looks damn good.

The gate can be seen from the “main” road so there’s no more room for crackheads to pull onto the back road and hide in the bushes to do their dirty deeds (done dirt cheap.) It took Dave and I a while to figure out how we were going to hold up the gate, get it on the hinges and get the hardware tightened down. I’m pretty sure if there was a third strong person there, this project would have been done in 30 minutes. I’m not going to tell you how long it took. I’m not the worlds most useful ranch hand when it comes to manual labor.

We took so long that the kids finally showed up. We let them play  a little bit. And just so you don’t think we’re delinquent parents, we didn’t actually let her turn it on:

And here is my most handsome husband, putting the finishing touches on the posts:

Isn’t he just a stunning specimen of a man? He’s also handy with power tools.

He had chicken pox this week. I thought he was going to die. He’s on the upswing and I could not be happier. If he died, not only would I have to go into seclusion and wear black for the rest of my life, I would never be able to finish the fence he started. It would take me years to put up the railing. Maybe we shouldn’t talk about that. Maybe we should talk about life insurance…

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Dun nuh nuh nuh nuh. We’re gonna have a good time.

Oh sorry, I was rockin’ out for Dave’s birthday. We did almost the same thing for his birthday that we did for mine: fencing. Not the kind of fencing that involves parrying and thrusting and yelling “ungarde,” more like the fencing that involves post-crete and lifting heavy objects. It rained most of the weekend so we got very little done but we did get the heavy corner posts into the ground at the edge of the property. We also think we found the property line so, SCORE! If you really want to know, I found it while ducking behind a bush to use the little girls tree. If you really didn’t want to know, I’m sorry. Finding the property line feels like we accomplished something. We have a neighbor who is going to school to learn how to be a surveyor and he said if we got some beer and a metal detector, he will show us our property lines. We have both of those, now all we need is time.

Back to the fencing, we put in posts for a gate that goes across the back road, you know, the one where people park and smoke or do “whatever.” I ordered a gate from our guy at Mountain Feed in Ben Lomond, who surprisingly, was the cheapest price out of our local farm supply stores (in case you’re in the market.) I would like pause for a moment to talk about Mountain Feed. That store is awesome. It’s a homesteaders dream. They have high quality pet food, organic growing supplies, cute crafty gifts, bee keeping supplies, canning supplies, and best of all, the people actually know what they are talking about when they give you advice. Dave says they are like the Cheers bar of feed stores. Every time he goes in there, he feels like Norm. They know us. they know what project we’re working on. They know we have a sheep in the side yard. I think they know more about what’s going on than my family does.  Although I can find things cheaper on the internet, I really like to support local businesses. So if you’re in the area, check out Mountain Feed.

Back to the fencing. We’re putting up the gate and the posts will be in and painted but we won’t have the money to put in the “rails” for a while. I went with Centaur fencing which is beautiful and has a 30 year warranty but it’s not the cheapest. It’s also super safe and will sustain a hit from a falling tree branch or a horse body without severely injuring anyone. This year, Danielle so kindly paid a year of board up front so we could build the first pasture. Next year I’ll need two boarders to pay up front because the second pasture is twice as big. I wonder what dave’s doing for his birthday next year…and the year after that…and the year after that…

Happy birthday, Honey!

On a side note, we have a new barn kitties. I love them and want to squeeze them but they aren’t hip to being squeezed. The best part about these kitties is they have no tails! I have photos but I seem to have misplaced my camera. As soon as I find it, I’m going to tell you all about the barn kittens!

The Fence Project Goes On (and on and on and..)

We finally got the fence posts painted and cut to size! Soon we will have humans at the ranch and animals in the pastures.

First we measured (and by we, I mean Dave).

Then we cut (again, I mean Dave).

Look at that form. Isn’t he spectacular? I did do things that day. I painted the tops of all the posts and nagged Dave. It’s kind of my thing.

I can hardly wait to start the next pasture.

How I Spent My Birthday Vacation. By Aztechalo

I turned a round number, evenly divisible by 10 this year. It was a big one. I’m not sad or even embarrassed, I’m excited. I was going to take a trip with husband and some good friends but at the last-minute most of my friends were broke and well, the ranch needed a few things done. Mainly it needed fencing. Yeah, it’s still not done. Nor is it done after four days of work. I’m not upset. It’s just how our life goes at Redemption.

First our friend Matt came out with his tractor to help us auger holes. It was a 50/50 split between failure and success. Half the holes augured quickly but the sand filled them back in as soon as the auger came out. The other holes were dug to six inches when the auger hit sand stone. No amount of Dave jumping on the auger would help dislodge the sand stone. Eventually, Matt gave up, drove his tractor onto his trailer and went home. Redemption might have beaten him but it would not beat us. Dave decided to try to break up the rock himself but lasted about 15 minutes before he decided that we should once again rent a skidsteer, this time with an auger attachment.

He is as bad-ass as he is good-looking. I know I said earlier that my husband is the coolest person I know (hat not withstanding) but this photo may cause you to demand he turn his crown in and give it to….

ME! That’s right, there I am, driving the skidsteer. I even augured some holes. And let me tell you, it was every bit as fun as it looked. It totally made up for having to do this…

I am stripping the bark off of the redwood trees that are our corner posts. It’s a lot like string cheese with splinters. When I originally decided to write about this I was going to make this section a whole separate post and title it, “I Missed My Calling as  Stripper” then I got a birthday card from my Nana saying she’s been reading my blog and I didn’t want her to drop dead before she got to the part where it’s a really funny pun. Actually, my Grandma wouldn’t have been shocked. It’s almost impossible to shock her and besides, puns are never funny. Actually, the real reason I nixed the post was I wasn’t sure there was enough material for a whole post. Ha! That’s almost another pun. Get it, a post about posts?

I’m sorry. I was in the sun a lot this week.

Anyway, we got a great deal from a tree company. They gave us 8 feet of tree for very little money. Of course, we had to get them into the truck, no easy task at several hundred pounds each…

Then back out again…

Then I had to strip off the bark…

Then someone (Dave) had to get them in the ground while someone (me) took pictures…

Jokes about wood have dominated our week, as have Alieve cocktails and early bed times. As for me, I’m just pleased that the fence will be in before another decade lapses.

Destruction

My husband is the coolest person I know. This weekend, he rented a bobcat with a mowing deck. This is not your dad’s lawnmower. This thing will take out massive manzanita plants, small Acacia trees and water pipes. It cleared over 40,000 sq ft of brush in about eight hours. To make a comparison, it took three adults six hours to do 700 linear feet of that same brush, using hand tools and a chainsaw. When I showed up to the ranch husband was covered in dust, all I could see was his eyes. Sadly, I didn’t have the camera with me. I did get some photos of the clearing he made that is to become the first horse pasture.

And here is where the mower sheared the water pipe. The grass was so tall, we didn’t know there was a water pipe there!

The Honey Do List

Redemption is in shambles. Years of neglect have left the house unlivable and somewhat dangerous, the grasses and weeds are so high that we lost the dog in the meadow and we have some serious drainage issues that turn part of the property into a wetlands. So I gave my wonderful husband a list of things that needed to be done as soon as escrow closed. Unfortunately, the reality is, we are two people battling 36 acres of wildness. My honey do list included several things that I thought we would get done in the first month:

  • Build pasture fences
  • Fence in the garden area
  • Build raised beds
  • Put in french drains

I hear universal laughter ringing out from the heart of every home owner who has taken on a big project. Murphy’s law says it will take four times as long to do things. Not only that but my list didn’t touch all the things we needed to do for the humans to live at the property. It’s a good thing hubby and I balance each other out because he in turn gave me a list of things he wanted done in the first month and it looked like this:

  • Tear out drywall
  • Clear debris from the walls
  • Remove the entire kitchen and bathroom, leaving only a functioning toilet
  • Pull the linoleum
  • Remove pine paneling
  • Get permits approved
  • Put up shelving in the garage

Four months after close of escrow and the list have barely been touched. They loom over us, a crushing amount of tasks. I hear the ticking of the clock. It says, “Tick, tock, tick, you don’t have permits yet, tick, the plants need to be planted…” I doubt this is the last time I’ll hear that clock. Tick tock, Clarice.