Thursday, August 29, 2013

Facebook and the Old Garden Fence

Holy cow, have I ever been distracted by Facebook this last week.  I just joined the site and quickly discovered there's a lot of stuff going on in there.  Could you imagine getting sucked into that living, breathing, vibrating world?   And the noise level therein?  Beyond peak in any form from any rock show in the 1960's or 70's.

Especially if you were peaking in front of one of those massive speaker units of the day.  Couldn't move.  All your buddies were drooling too so there would be no rescue op.  And you couldn't escape from the sound.  Grinning like a Cheshire Cat with rocket engine decibels blasting several inches from your brain.   Then you couldn't hear a thing for three weeks after the show and can't hear anything now, forty years later. 

Yeah, I bet Facebook is way louder than that.
Howdy to any and all newcomers, especially any new Facebook folks.  I hope you become fans.  I have been occupying this space for a little over a year now under one of my pseudonyms, the bigambigui.   The blog essentially describes and chronicles the trials and tribulations of an aging late fifty something human  putting together a homestead in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California.  Emphasis: aging.  Six oh is a year away.

It all started when one little boy eventually emerged from a delightfully furry little batch of what were supposed to be all female chicks.  The little bastard has become a man, and I have nicknamed him Kato, after Inspector Clouseau's sneaky damn attack butler.  Goldie has become a sneaky damn attack rooster. 

Handsome, but sneaky.  He usually doesn't do a full frontal assault, he waits until your back is turned.  Then he'll charge.  So now I carry in the little chicken poop shovel every time I go in, and always keep that in between me and him.  So far I have only had to whack him a couple times.  Flat blade in the chest.  I doubt it hurts him at all, just moves him back.  I am also developing eyes in the back of my head.

He mostly attacks men, although any human is subject.  He has pecked my lovely wife from time to time, but she can still pick him up and have a friendly chat now and then.  I have only tried to pet him once since he was an adolescent and he pecked me twice on the hand.  Hard hits too.  They bruised.  I'd hate to see what happens when he gets his three inch spurs involved.

From the rooster and chickens the site has evolved.  Hopefully you'll have some time to noodle around and get acquainted.  You'll laugh, guaranteed.  There are links in every post to add to your amusement or knowledge.  Please check them out.  There should be links to a couple nice tunes intermingled here and there as well.  While you should find some worthwhile information in every post, and I do seek expert opinion when necessary, the only thing I'm truly expert on is crazy.  And you'll find plenty of that in every post.  

Homeboy, the previous owner, as I have alluded to many times in the past, did a few good things around this place.  But he mostly did stupid, real stupid stuff that makes you wonder what he was smoking or drinking when he thunk it up.  As I have also alluded to in many past posts, I think he was shit house howdy blasted most of the time and had no idea what a good idea was.

We have an ongoing deer battle happening around these parts, have had since we moved in.  Prior to us taking over stewardship of this ground, Homecake had a lot of weird, obsolete fencing going on.  Totally worthless for deer.  He did have goats at one time, so there were actually dilapidated remnants of a couple realistic pens on the top forty.  But that was about all that made any sense.

One of those dilapidated pens was turned into Chicken Fantasia Land, the other area rests just above that in the upper southeast corner.  Then Homemuffin also had the south side of the property completely fenced with five foot fencing, as was half the upper side.  I have since completed a horseshoe of fencing along the top and sides of the property to a height of eight feet, which was no small feat for a short old man.   You can read all about those endeavors at Bambi Can Eat My Drawers.

The eight foot fence on both sides ends at a very steep fifteen foot embankment right at the road.  It's too steep for deer to navigate on the north side, but just slight enough on the south side for the little parasites to sneak around, get in and smell the roses.  They're not getting to nibble now since the goods are fenced off, but that fragrance still draws them like the cloud above a Grateful Dead show would a wayfaring Rastafarian. 

As I mentioned, Homeskillet had a bunch of obsolete fencing running here and there, without rhyme or reason.  Kinda like the Winchester Mystery House, only with wire.  On the positive side, I was able to wrangle, recycle and reuse all that metal, as well as T-Posts, in my successful eight foot perimeter fencing endeavor.

What's the secret to getting a T-Post out of the concrete hard clay soil here in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California?  Do it in winter, after the ground has been saturated with rain.  After a few good rains, the clay around here can be sliced through like cool butter.  A little shimmy and shake, a little wobble and wiggle and a lot of hap hazard finesse and they usually come out.  I probably looked a lot like Warren Zevon after a fifth of Stoly doing a Cha-Cha Hip-Hop Fusion to Sly and the Stone when I was dancing with them posts, but it beats dynamite in summer.   

Prior to my wrangling of obsolete fence, there was a MAJOR game trail slicing down just about right through the middle of our newly purchased property.  Major game trail.  One morning we awoke to see a stag with a rack way bigger than Carol Doda's standing on the hillside thirty feet from our bedroom deck.  He looked majestic standing there, proud and statuesque.  The morning sun was rising behind him, casting a soft light all around his grandness.  Some Philharmonic Pops was queuing up Beethoven, or Chopin, or Panini.  An aria started to waft in on the breeze.  Or maybe that was pizza.

I wanted to shoot the flea ridden propagator of further flea ridden plant decimaters, but I shooed him instead.  I did a few windmills with the old throwing arm and tossed a couple stones in his majestic direction.  It annoyed him enough so that he harrumphed over the then five foot south fence.

In case you could not tell, I am a plant person.  I harbor no fondness for deer, unless maybe they're a salami or pate.  Or mounted on a hub cap.

The top of the property was the first section to get eight foot treatment, cutting off a cavalcade of deer.  Then I slowly completed the fencing along both sides of the property.  Now, almost three years later, there's just a trickle of them dang meddlers invading and trying to nibble away on the goods.  It's a fraction of what it was three years ago.

If you're wondering what kind of goods I'm talking about, we now have a number of ARS (American Rose Society) winners in the front yard, under extreme protection of course.  See A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell Just as Sweet as if it Were Any Other Fragrance Other Than a Rose is a Rose is a Rose.

Prior to all my fencing efforts, Homesauce, or his ex-wife, apparently did try to grow a vegetable garden at one time.  So down below, on the lower forty, right along the south side of the property, he had made a little ten by fifteen foot fenced in space to plant a garden.  I think.  It looked a lot like this:

 Homestrudel obviously had no concern with aesthetics.  Couldn't spell it, had no idea what it was.

The above pictures were taken at noon.  Notice anything else wrong, besides it looking like it belongs somewhere in outer Appalachia?

Hint: Look at the shade...there's no friggin sun!  That little fenced in area does not see any sunlight until around 2:00 in the afternoon.  Not conducive for tomatoes, or most any other growing plant 'cepting mushrooms maybe.  Why would you fence in a space without any sun for a garden?  I tried to grow a few things in there for two years without much success.  Granted I did not spend much time with it and the soil definitely needs amending, but plants also need sunlight to thrive.

Homenoodle did run water to that location, which is cool.  But the rest of whatever it was he tried to do didn't work with my overall scheme of things, at all.  We're putting in some color down that line this spring, probably some crepe myrtle.  Lavender.  Maybe interspersed with pink.  I wanna keep them low though because I think I wanna put in a row of five or six almond trees too. The days of destruction and clearing have passed, it is time to begin the new growth era.

You can't really see it in the photos, but initially I removed a string of barbed wire that ran across the top of the pen.  The "Gee, let's see, after more whiskey"  PVC eyesore you see above was removed next.  What was it doing there in the first place?  I have no idea.  It ran along the fence line, five feet high, connected to nothing.  Maybe Homegerbel had entered his model airplane glue sniffing period.  The mind reels.

Then I un-clipped the chicken wire fencing from the posts, rolled it all up and stacked it along the fence line thus.  Trust me, it's there, in the back.  And trust me, we live on a couple acres-I can always use some extra fence. 

Down along the bottom of Homedrawer's little useless quadrant of irrelevance was a row of cinder block.  I'm not sure what that was doing there.  I'm pretty sure he had no idea what it was doing there either.

We live on a hill, I can always use cinder block.  As a matter of fact, the 12-14 blocks will be deployed as steps to get down to rope swing land, which is mentioned in Tarzan the Tree Man.   Part of the trail is at an easy slope, but as you approach the top it gets a little sketchy, especially for Grandchildren.

I hope to get a start on some steps right there sometime next week.  Depends on a couple other projects that are also in queue.  Never a dull moment around here.

Also along the perimeter of Homechowder's extraneous effort of insignificance was a line of Sierra Nevada Foothill rock.  Not a lot, but a line.  Kinda piled, kinda not.  Probably a twelve pack idea, with a swig or two of  Jim Beam in there for good measure.  That or some really good heroin could have brought him to that place and decision.  What the howdy.

I live on a hill, I can always use rocks.  I barrowed them up and wheeled them down to a lower parking area which side needs some shoring up.  And dressing up.  Aesthetics-my middle name.

The clay doesn't erode that much around here, but extra support is never a bad idea.  Plus, it gives me a place to put all the rock I will be uncovering from this hill as landscape slowly evolves.  That dirty red rock will brighten up after a few seasons of rain.

I've got a standing order with a utility tree service that's based a couple miles down the road for wood chips.
That's what that pile is in the top of the photo.  They've got a close place right here that they can drop their load off at anytime.  I have already deployed one load around the land, especially in the orchard.

The benefit of wood chips for organic gardening is enormous.  Besides keeping the ground moist, they encourage worm migration.  A neighbor, just utilizing cardboard and wood chips over the last couple years now has about 6 inches of home grown top soil.  Out of this clay?  That's magic.  That's like turning moldy cheese into rutabaga pie.  Or like teaching a monkey to fly.  Only a little bit different.

Of course, the remaining fence posts of Homepuddin's monument to meaninglessness will remain until after the first rain.  Or two.  No sense hurting myself.

If you drive by sometime in December you could see me doing the Funky Nova with a fence post or two while Parliament blares in the background on the eight track.  You never know.