Sunday, May 15, 2011

Status of the Homestead--the yard

 Welcome to our desert lean-to. Here is the view as you approach our little homestead. Lane has been building the coyote fence with remnants of the Siberian elms on our irrigation ditch. The Siberian elm is considered a noxious weed around here. In fact, we had to dispose of 5 large ones when we purchased this property. They were upwards of 90% dead.

Most people try to create a coyote fence that is all the same height, using latillas that are the same diameter, and definitely not out of Siberian elm. Well, we're not like most people. Besides, the elm is free and it allows us to look within our zones to find the resources we need.

I really like the mish-mash of diameters and lengths. The birds, do, too. We'll often see sparrows and finches atop the tallest posts. I planted sunflower seeds and cosmos along the fence, so hopefully there will be a border of color for both us and our feathered friends to enjoy.

This gate, built of reclaimed railroad ties and barn wood greets you. The welcome sign was left over from a neighbor's project. He took the positive cut outs and we've reused the negative. It is getting a nice, rusty patina.

Upon entering the gate, the mini-orchard is to your left. We have a Wealthy apple, Garnet peach, Chinese apricot and Green Gauge plum. The posts are for our eventual shaded patio. We have a shade cloth that hangs from the posts and fence, but we have to take it down most of the time due to the high spring winds. The green grasses are actually cover crops of winter wheat, vetch and blue fescue. Some flower seeds and a dry grass blend have been planted and we'll see what comes up.

The peach is doing quite well, considering we had an aphid episode a month ago. Here are some growing fruits! Sadly, the apricot is down to one lone fruit. The largest of the two fell off during some high winds last week. I took a class with an arborist who recommended letting just one fruit grow to maturity the first year you've had your fruit tree. This allows the tree to put all of its energy into growing roots and getting established, rather than fruit production. Thanks to Nature, this has become true for the apricot. I've been dutifully thinning the other fruit trees, though, to minimize production. I just can't imagine not having more than one juicy fruit from the front yard this season.  I mean, Lane needs to eat one, too.

 And here are the apples. They already look so apple-y! I'm doing my best to keep them thinned, as well.

To the right of the gate is our "garden." Although we have dug two sunken beds,  only one is currently planted. We have turnips, two beet varieties, carrots, and a mix of lettuces. I transplanted some Purple Cherokee and Glacier tomato starts yesterday. In the foreground is more winter wheat. It's putting on seed, so we'll see if we have some wheat berries to harvest come fall. 

If you carry on to the right, this grass patch is more wheat, vetch and fescue. There are also 4 honeysuckles we received as housewarming gifts last summer. The flood irrigation is really helping these along. We also have some volunteer sunflower seedlings mixed in too. The hummingbirds have found the honeysuckles which has been a delight. This time last year it was hard to believe there would be any life in this yard.

And, north of the orchard, Lane built a new fence for the girls yesterday. It is twice the height of the last one and should keep them from their recent escapades into the garden. I'm sure the lettuce will be thankful of that.


Chile said...

Nice tour. It is heartbreaking to remove the blossoms and fruit on new plants, isn't it? I've hated picking the blooms off the strawberries, but it has to be done. It'll all be worth it next year!

Desert Lean-to said...

Thanks, Chile. There's not much to the place but we love it just the same. I know that plucking off those fruits and blossoms will be well worth it in the long run, but it is so hard to do! I appreciate your empathy and understanding.