April 15, 2015

Through Winter into Spring

It's been three months since our last post. Why? Well progress here has been in fits and starts, go ahead and then stop.

The koi pond did get started but has changed significantly from the original design. It's gotten bigger. Not by choice, but because of rocks. As the digging progressed there were several places where the edge of the pond should have been, but huge boulders were found and when they were removed it left gaping holes. So the pond got bigger. In some places the holes were patched with concrete and block, but in other places, well, ... the pond just got re-designed.

Then the weather soon threw us the first curveball.

In January and February we had not only some bouts of near freezing temperatures and even some snow, but also some pretty consistent rains, that of course created muddy conditions. That has had a tendency to halt construction as we wait for things to dry out a bit. And just when we think we're ready to move forward again, it would rain again.

But in between rains I did manage to get a rainwater collection basin built. It will receive rain water from one of the barn downspouts and three from the house. Every one of the stones that line the basin was carefully selected and placed by hand. After all, what else do I have to spend my time on?
Now begins the task of selecting the plants that will go into and around it.

The rest of the rainwater from the barn will be going into our new 800 gallon storage tank. Having that set up now is probably the best way to assure that we won't get anymore rain for awhile.

From the humongous boulders that came out of the pond excavation, we set aside two that have flat surfaces on them and they'll be used as a seating area on top of the berm. You'll be able to sit up there and look down on the entire pond from the side opposite the patio. Here's Rascal, our Ranch Foreman, taking one of them for a test drive.

We sat on the patio recently listening to the waterfalls and watching our koi. (We have very good imaginations.)

We've also had some landscaping done since our last post, but of course the weather put a stop to that too. For as much as four weeks at a time. But we now have a front lawn of bermuda grass and a sprinkler system to keep it watered. The problem is that the digital system that controls the sprinklers hasn't been set up yet so watering the sod is a matter of getting down on your hands and knees in rain gear to open an underground valve, and then run like the wind. Gee, what fun.

The front entryway has been constructed. Well, at least the block work is done. When the mailbox is enclosed in block then the stucco crew will come in and finish the masonry. After that, the welder will take measurements for the custom gates and door for the delivery hatch. When will all this happen? Who knows? Yeah, you guessed it. It depends on the weather.

The native wildlife we mentioned before continues to show up. The gray fox has become a regular and the persimmon trees in front of kitchen window have been visited in the mornings by flocks of robins alternating between days with hundreds (yes, HUNDREDS) of cedar waxwings. And this past week I thought I'd been hearing the call of wild turkeys, and a few days later there was one hen that strutted across our front lawn, twice in one day. Well, at least I think it was the same hen twice, but maybe it was two hens at different times. Hard to say. They all seem to look alike you know.

And of course the never ending display of magnificent sunsets continues.
On nights when the sky isn't full of rain clouds that is.
But mornings here in the valley can take your breath away too,
so here's an early morning shot for you to enjoy.
There'll be more sunsets later.