Thursday, September 20, 2012

The tarantulas are traveling...fall is here.

Tarantula crossing our driveway.

Interesting week . The tarantulas are out on their walk abouts. On the highway down to our land last week, I counted fourteen of the little guys crossing the road. Yesterday there were ten in the road and one in our driveway. Lucky for me this guy presented a photo op that could not be passed up, especially since last week, when I was trolling for tarantulas along the highway (after having seen 14), driving at about 15 mph, I didn't find a single one to stop and take a picture of. They are not as big as I expected. The ones we had in Fremont County, Colorado were larger and more varied in coloring. The female that lived next to our path to the barn was beautiful, and huge! And a little intimidating.

Also this week there have been beautiful birds...migrating maybe. Crazy colors. When I first saw these guys, I thought, wow, they look like the African Masked Weaver I made for my Safariarte piece. What would those birds be doing here?

Recycled wood, yard staple--African Masked Weaver

On further inspection, they are just opposite of the Masked Weaver, and I think they are really Yellow Headed Blackbirds.

Blackbirds with yellow heads and breasts.
Yellow Headed Blackbirds

Still, they are very pretty and took my breath away as they added color to the desert landscape.

It is fall in the desert. There is no denying it any longer. It frosts nearly every night now and there was snow on the mountains one evening after a rain. We tried to cover the plants, and saved them one night, only to be caught off guard the next night when the weather forecast did not call for a frost. We lost most everything. We planted too late here anyway, I think. There are still some peppers under a row cover that may survive a little longer, but overall our gardening experience has been less than we had hoped this year. We got onions, garlic, potatoes, some lettuce, radishes, and there are still carrots in the ground. The peas went to seed too fast, so we saved them for seed for next year. Richard still has hopes on getting a few fall crops in.

Surprisingly (or not really), when you spend so much time out in the desert, you begin to notice the subtle changes in color as the seasons change. The sage is blooming. The Chamisa is a bright yellow in some places and gone to seed to create a creamy yellow in other places. There is bright, white Winter Fat, Purple Astors, Brown -eyed Susans, other varieties of yellow flowers, plus the sage green of the sage not blooming, and other plants gone to seed. Most of this colorful loveliness is next to the roadsides where the plants get the most water from rain runoff. So as we head to our E-ship down our long and dusty dirt road, the eyes are drawn to the color along side the road. It is amazing and inspirational. The colors of the desert in bloom in the fall cannot be beat. I am in love with this place and I am in love with the palette presented to me daily as a go about my mundane chores. I will try to get a photo before the colors fade into winter.

We haven't gotten out to our land as much as we would like due to financial constraints. Gas is expensive and we still have bills to pay before we can buy more supplies. Richard did a canning class last weekend, which was a great success, and we are hoping to have another one at the end of the month. Also another chicken processing class is coming up this weekend. I hope more people sign up for the classes. You'd think with all of the instability in the economy, people would be more interested in learning the homestead basics.

We did finally get the gravel out of the trailer and into the cistern down at our place. Richard sloped it down to the drain. The next step is to cement the floor of the cistern and of course keep adding more bag courses.

Gravel in the cistern.

We also dug out the foundation trench for one of our "cabins" which in reality will end up being a small home...not tiny, but I like to call it that. It should come in around 600 sq feet with a 20 x 26 foot footprint. It also will have an upstairs.

Staking out the tiny house.
Tiny house foundation trench...done in about 7 hours. 

There is always something to do, it seems, and still nothing gets done a fast as we would like. I wish we could be out on the land so we could get more done. But we have to have a house to live in first. And so much still to do for the coming winter. Maybe we can get enough people into the classes to buy our hay for the llamas or refill our propane tank, since Richard's job is not paying much these days.

I'm still trying to work on my art, when I can. Have a new  website , connected to some print on demand thing. The cool thing is people can buy prints pretty inexpensively, and if they want an original, they can contact me directly. Check it out. Buy some art. Feed the homestead.

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