Well, it's time to begin the annual garden. Working the soil with a little hand spade, planting small tomato plants and some herbs. Water it all in, and wait for the bounty.
We started a new garden this year, in addition to the aforementioned 50 sq foot patch for Bloggerella & the Big Guy. We planted a horse garden. Yes, we bought pasture seed, deadly though it may be (see previous post "Grass Alert") that we hope will become a horsey heaven for Blazey & Chocolate Star.
This has been a dream of ours since we were blessed with these two, huge pets. Since we have no farm equipment, such as a tractor and an irrigation system, it was always just a dream. See, West Texas land is, if lucky, covered in buffalo grass and mesquite trees. This is desert: think arid, barren, yes, hardscrabble land. Annual rainfall of 12 inches doesn't provide for lush fields. If one owns a horse or two, the pasture very quickly becomes nothing but sand on top of caliche rock. We literally have about 3 inches of soil before one encounters solid rock.
I know this is so because three years ago, BG worked his fine-looking butt off planting 3 desert pine trees in the pasture, at my behest, so the horses would have some shade. To plant those 3-foot tall (small?) pines required hours of literally banging on rock with a heavy-ass six-foot wickedly-pointed bar that jars one's very being as it strikes the unyielding rock. We lost 2 of those trees. The lone remaining tree is still 3-feet tall because my darling, dark chocolate mustang with the temperament of a wildly-hormonal, obstreperous teenager insists on rubbing her belly on the little trees, thus breaking off all new growth. For some reason she leaves it alone now, so I have hope we can celebrate a robust 4-foot tree with a funky non-top by the end of this summer. Woo hoo!
Despite that dispiriting adventure, we decided this spring to try planting pasture grass in an attempt to cut the feed bill somewhat as well as to replenish the land. Thanks to Craig's List, I found a dude living just a few miles away who would disc our land for $45 an hour. Score! I didn't know what "discing" was, but I was told we needed it. This amiable fellow brought his tractor over and proceeded to break up the ground with these round discs (redundant much?). As the granddaughter of a farming family, I felt a tiny bit of heretofore unknown DNA strand stirring as I watched him work our land. And, it was exciting to see this sandy, rocky ground turn into some surprisingly dark, rich-looking soil.
Two hours later, we were on our way back to the local farmers' co-op to purchase more seed. See, I planned to tend around 900 sq feet, a fair amount of land to hand water. Big Guy, on the other hand, had our friendly farmer dude disc more than half of the horse pasture, at least an acre of land, which Ask.com tells me is 43,560 square feet!!! No, that is not an excessive use of exclamation points!!!
So at 3 pm BG begins seeding the area with your regular suburban lawn seeder. I water by hand behind him to moisten the ground so the seed at least sticks to the soil; and then BG starts hand watering as well. FOUR BLANKING HOURS LATER, we finish hand watering all the seeded area. As God is my witness, that one acre I so proudly watched being disced ("watch" being the operative word), had grown to the size of a small, Saharan country.
Yesterday, I continued the process of watering, this time setting 2 sprinklers out, and moving them every 30 minutes. Began watering at 8 am and finished at 7 pm, eleven hours to water the entire area. We have those sprinklers they used to water schoolyards when I was a kid that water a large circular area. Every time I walked into the pasture to move the sprinklers, these small black birds with a cunning yellow stripe on the wing (one of you birders will know what they are) were feasting on MY seeds. I yell "Get your bird butts outta here!", they scatter...and return when I leave the premises.
This morning, I saw the Big Guy off at six am. It was a beautiful morning, still dark, just a slight, gentle breeze and a gorgeous, full, yellow moon setting but still high on the western horizon. So I started the sprinklers again. Our weather calls for a "wind event" today with sustained 30-40 mph winds, gusting to 50. I wanted to water as long as possible. Moved the water at 7 am, and fed the horses. Went out at eight o'clock and moved both sprinklers again. As soon as I had them where I wanted, suddenly, like a switch being thrown, the gentle breeze blew into blustering winds. The high wires were singing their eerie song when the wind really blows. I turned off the water since the spray was just blowing away. No watering today. Hope the wind keeps those little black bastard birds away. Hope it doesn't blow away all the seed. *Sigh*
To be continued...