Prepping Apricot Plum tree seeds and wisteria seeds for germination AND gardening spreadsheet PLUS *YouTube video*

So I mentioned before that I ordered a good amount of seeds including some flowers and also fruit trees to start from seeds. I’m eager to try all different types and starting them from cuttings, seeds, plants, bare root, etc to further broaden my understanding of gardening and learn through trial and error.

 

So after making my gardening spreadsheet (which you’ll see a shot of in the video below) I realized I had 2 seeds I needed to get to work on NOW. My Japanese Flowering Apricot Plum tree seeds need to be soaked in water for 24 hours and then cold stratify in the freezer or fridge for 60-90 days and THEN they can be potted indoors to germinate. So in the video I get started on that.

 

Check out the video on YouTube here!!!!

And you can SCROLL DOWN for pictures of GORGEOUS TREES!!! What these babies will be one day! *swoon* Oh the day!

 

My Japanese purple wisteria vine I’m starting from seeds as well and they just need to soak in water for 8 hours prior to me planting those in soil indoors to germinate.

 

The hope is that at least 1 Apricot Plum tree will go up beside the chicken run and then I will do 1-2 in the zone 1 food forest and if the other 1-2 actually germinate for me and do well they’ll go out in the big food forest. They are beautiful flowering trees and look absolutely stunning, they should do well in our zone and I’m eager and hopeful that they all turn out well!

 

This is what those will look like…

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Ahhhh! I hope they do well here! And I can’t wait to see them looking like this in several years! Pops of light pink studded around the property in the spring, heavenly!

 

The purple Japanese wisteria vine is going 1 place, as of now, and that is on the pergola in the zone 1 garden that you walk under to go from the driveway to the front door. The purpose of it is to provide shade in the summer months and also just be beautiful!!!!

 

Here is a look at what my wisteria will look like… LOVE!

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*drool*

 

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And THIS is my goal!!! Training it to go over the pergola, splendid!!!

 

More to come!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Sheet Mulching my zone 1 Permaculture gardens *YouTube video*

So in just the first 1/4 of the book Gaia’s Garden it dives into soil fertility, reviving life in your soil and that you really have to start…for lack of a better phrase…”from the ground up”. And you do that by starting with your soil. Yes you can plant things in crappy soil and then just add fertilizer but why make yourself need to have to buy something that only gives you temporary “fertility” and then you have to redo quarterly or year? If you promote healthy soil life and then take care of it (which is actually less work than you might think) then your soil becomes living soil and it will go through the normal ecological cycles of life all on it’s own and take care of everything you have planted in it.

 

I just cannot say ENOUGH about the huge kudos I give to the author of this book! It has changed how I look at EVERYTHING in relation to gardening. And I have utmost confidence that I will be able to put certain things in place that will make my land here in the “barren desert” very fertile and fruitful! I just know it!

 

Yesterday I started working on the sheet mulching project for 2 beds in my zone 1 garden and I decided to do a video about that. I’ll be wrapping up this project in the next few days and so there will be more videos to come.

 

For now check out this video I put on YouTube of the sheet mulching process, layers and stages.

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Let’s take a walkabout my zone 1 garden in the future food forest! *YouTube video*

On the day everything was wet here a few days ago and I did the tour of the future food forest I decided to tour what I call Zone 1. I am only about 1/3 of the way through the book Gaia’s Gardens about home scale permaculture BUT I am learning so much. I had never thought to include my front yard in the design, doh! I had thought I’d have grass and a rose garden and just pretty flowers and that’s it. Talk about feeling like a ditz!

 

So, I have dubbed this my zone 1 garden in the front yard and back yard that all already is fenced in on it’s own on the 8 acres overall and the front yard already has a lot of mature trees for shade to create that “canopy” affect that you really want in a mature food forest, or really that you NEED!

 

So now I’ve got plans in my head, I’ve drawn them out and I’ve talked about them on our Facebook page a lot so today in this video on YouTube I do a walkabout showing you this area in “real time video” and where I plan to put things! There are so many details I do not have planned out but rather just have the frame work figured out thus far!

 

If you have any ideas or suggestions I’d love to hear them!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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What I think about when I lay down to go to bed *Homestead Dreams* YouTube video

I had these thoughts swirling around in my head and I must admit I’m loving sharing my life, ideas and goals via video as it just seems to be a better use of time for me than writing out everything. I love to write and although I do see and hope the YouTube channel will grow greatly in the coming years, I still want to have this blog to house all the info, photos AND videos of that progress!

 

But so I decided to film this video of what I think about when I lay down to go to bed. Check it out here! So since it’s a rather long video I’ll keep this post about it short!

 

Have a super day!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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We have identified some of our trees!!!

I put this video on YouTube and shared it all over Facebook on local gardening groups asking for help in identifying a few trees in my front yard!

 

And success!!!!!!!!!

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I’d like to introduce to you my 3 trees in the front yard! They are Chinese Pistache Trees! This is what they will look like in a year or two when they’re more mature and healthy AND they get passed the straggly young phase!

 

 

Chinese Pistache Tree

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Love!!!!!!!! IF love was a tree I think it’d look something like this beauty!!!

 

Then on the west side of the front yard are two LIVE OAK trees!!!

 

This is what they look like young, like mine are.

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And then one day when it gets a little older it’ll look like this!

 

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I just love learning about these trees that are here so that I know how and when to prune them, how to properly care for them so that they can come back to life and be wonderful blessings on our homestead!! You will see these guys in future videos on the YouTube channel for sure!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Check out my WET future food forest!

We had a good 2 inches of rain here a little less than a week ago and when I went out to let the dogs out after the rain had stopped I decided to tour my future food forest and see where all it was holding water. Boy did I learn a lot! You can check out the video on YouTube here!!!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

If you like what you see here make sure you subscribe to the blog and the YouTube channel to stay up to date on our #startuphomestead adventures!!!

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Fleur de Lawn – flowering lawn!

So since I am currently mesmerized with the idea of using my entire front yard as a zone 1 food forest, edible landscaping I am thinking of using THIS idea for my backyard! It is a wonderful option for people in the desert like me but it is also cold hardy while still drought tolerant. It is a “flowering lawn” or a “mow-able meadow”! Who wouldn’t love that! I found this idea when I came across this guy’s video on YouTube and you can find it here in the YouTube link! His channel is worth following if you’re interesting in Permaculture or edible landscape!

 

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How gorgeous is that! It doesn’t get super tall and it is a mix of drought tolerant grass, wild flowers and clovers!

 

Here is where you can get the product:

PT 755 Fleur de Lawn®

 

 

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Doesn’t that look so soft to walk in!?!

 

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And if you love the flowers and blooms (like I’m sure I will) you don’t even have to mow it. It doesn’t get really tall like other grasses or weeds would but rather stays fairly low to the ground. So if you were walking around in it it isn’t over your shins or anything, lol! For my backyard for the kids and my dogs to play in I think it’d look just gorgeous and provide some green to my desert but also start to help rebuild my soil back there and add some flowers, color and life where it is much needed! I think I will shoot to try to do this this upcoming spring in 2016!

 

 

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If you or anyone you know has done something like this before or you have a review of this particular product by chance please do comment below and let me know! I’d love to know your thoughts and feedback on this idea!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

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Seeds ordered to start “greening the desert”!!!

So I’m beginning my research on Permaculture by reading the book “Gaia’s Garden (home scale guide to permaculture)” and previous to that I was searching the interwebs for information and I did that for a few weeks in the place of the time I’d normally spend watching TV daily. So you could say I have become obsessed with this idea of Permaculture and now I am officially wrapping my mind around so I can figure out exactly where to begin with it on my homestead.

 

So I still have to finish the book BUT after Christmas (the day after actually) I got really motivated and decided to spoil myself and order a few seeds from Amazon. I’ve been researching different places to get seeds, what types, all that jazz. A YouTuber that I follow did a video last year on how to track and organize all the information about your seeds and plants so I’m going to do that. And once I get my spreadsheet done I’ll share some screen shots of that with you guys just to show you how it is working out.

 

But today I want to share with you in my juvenile excitement, what seeds I ordered!!!

 

Trees or bushes!

 

dragon fruit seeds

Dragon fruit seeds!

 

Japanese Flowering Apricot Plum

Japanese flowering apricot plum! Gorgeous!

 

Organic Northern Highbush Blueberry

Organic northern highbush blueberry!

 

Purple Bamboo plants

Purple bamboo! (this is gorgeous AND it will serve as a wind break on the eastern side of the property/food forest)

 

Non-edible plants & vines!

The purpose of these is to add color, life, nitrogen to the soil and also encourage bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and all other insect life to happily move into our area to encourage and promote our new “ecosystem” we’ll be developing here!

 

Butterfly Garden Flower Seeds

A butterfly garden flower seed mix

 

Electric Blue & White HALF MOON LOBELIA Erinus Flower Seeds

Electric blue and white half moon Lobelia

 

Japanese Wisteria Vine

Japanese wisteria vine (this will go on my pergola by the front porch to add much needed shade)

 

 

Low Growing Wildflower Mixture

Low growing wild flower mixture (these will go in the front yard area and also by the well)

 

STAR JASMINE VINE

Star Jasmine Vine (this will go between where I park my car and the front gate to the porch since it puts out such a wonderful smell)

 

TRUE ENGLISH LAVENDER

True English lavender

 

Wildflower Butterfly Hummingbird Mix

Wildflower butterfly hummingbird mix

 

So, I am very excited about all of these! They will be coming in the mail almost at all different times between now and the 2nd week of February. So I’m going to focus on finishing 1-2 books on Permaculture before they all come in so that I can make sure I’m well prepared on how to handle these seeds, germinate them in doors and exactly when to plant them outdoors. Everywhere you read it says “after the last frost” but here in zone 9b in the lower Sonoran Desert we rarely ever get a frost. I think it got down to the low 20s two days last week and that even is rare. So I need to figure out how soon I can plant these things outside so that they can establish before summer heat in July!

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Our chicken coop situation, project & video on YouTube!

When we moved to this property we knew we’d have animals in the future. We also knew there was an existing chicken coop attached to the shop and a detached tack shed but otherwise no other animal “structures” on the property. The coop hadn’t been used in years and the run was pretty demolished by who knows what.

 

So since I’ve spent the first 5-6 mths on this property cleaning up around the 8 acres, fixing up the house and doing minor repairs inside I decided it was time to start on animal projects. I’d love to get my chickens and pigs before we come out of winter just because I want to have them here and give them time to adapt to their new home before we go into summer, as I presume that will be the hardest time of year for them here in southern Arizona.

 

So last week I decided to go ahead and start doing something about this chicken cook situation. Below I’ll show you photos of what it looked like before and also some photos of the work we did on it last week PLUS a video tour I posted on YouTube! The link to that is near the bottom of this post!

 

HERE ARE PICTURES OF WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE WHEN WE MOVED IN AND UP UNTIL JUST RECENTLY.

 

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This is the outside storage area, like a “carport” off the coop.

 

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Inside the coop

 

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Inside the coop

 

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Inside the coop. It has a little shelf over there in the corner and there is power in here to YAY, I can add a light on an automatic timer switch if I need to give them either more light in the winter or put a heat lamp in there. In the summer I’ll have a fan on each size of the breeze way circulating air in there to try to keep them cooler.

 

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Behind the coop, the old run. With a big desert bush in the middle.

 

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I’m not sure what is up with that half way behind the storage area but it looks rough!

 

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That bush.

 

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THEN I GOT TO WORK ON CLEANING UP THE OUTSIDE STORAGE AREA AND FIXING THE COOP DOOR.

 

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Outside storage area as of about 2 weeks ago.

 

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Over the last few months as I have been removing or trimming trees I have been saving certain limbs that I thought would be useful in the coop. I read an article about having some limbs attached to the inside of the coop and that the birds like to “chill” or “play” on them, lol! So that is what some of these are for!

 

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I cleared out all the stuff I had in there and just raked out the whole area. It was just all nasty. I moved these little storage shelves I had in the shop out there as temporary storage. Then once I did that I got to thinking about how that opening faces the south and how this little area gets good sun exposure but not direct all day long. So I got to thinking this might be a good area for a temporary green house type experiment. Or maybe when I start seedlings inside I can bring them to this spot to transition to outdoors before I plant them outside. More research to be done on that though later!

 

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Then the door wouldn’t open more than 1 foot…

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So I started raking all the dirt out of the way blocking the door and quickly realized it wasn’t just that but 1 of the hinges on the door was broken.

 

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I got the hinge repaired, added some support nails and got the dirt all cleared so now she opens 75% of the way and closes perfectly since it’s all level now! Yay!

 

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I put some pots here because I’m just trying to envision really what it’s going to be like. I know there are a few herbs that are really good for chickens and since I’m also studying Permaculture at the same time I have decided there is at least 1 fruit tree that I’m going plant right beside the run so they can eat the fruit when it drops (plums) and then also I’m going to plant blueberry bushes along their fence line for them to eat as well and I can harvest the other side they can’t get to. But to start I’m going to plant some herbs in pots near the door so that those can start growing and I will use those to cut some off and give to them as treats as I walk by all the time.

 

THEN WE GOT TO WORK ON CLEANING UP THE FUTURE RUN A LITTLE BIT.

 

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What you see here is the coop in the middle, a covered storage area on the left, to the left of that is the wood fence to my backyard, on the far right is the outdoor storage area beside the coop that I showed you above and to the right of that is the gate that leads to my house and where I park. I had to tackle removing this big bush since it takes up (what I presume) is all of the OLD run. The new run will be much larger.

 

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Before I started this project I put out a reqeust on Facebook on local farming/homesteading pages asking for advice on how to remove this bush/tree and if anybody knew what kind it was. Since this is the desert and that thing was surviving all by itself just fine without being watered or cared for I knew it had to have deep roots. Which would make it harder to remove.

 

Luckily, within a few minutes I had some very helpful people sharing great info with me! Turns out it is a Greasewood bush also known as a Desertbroom bush. These guys not only are natives to the Sonoran Desert and DO have super deep roots BUT they are also very beneficial! They need no maintenance technically and their leaves have medicinal purposes. So upon researching the type further and confirming it is in fact a Greasewood bush I found that the leaves when crushed and used in numerous ways are anti bacterial, anti viral, relieve muscle aches, help upset stomachs, you name it! I’m all about having “useful” plants on the property so I was very glad to learn all about this guy here on the farm and how really there is no reason for me to get rid of him. The birds will like some shade and might also want to play in some of the lower limbs so I decided to keep it.

 

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Since it has a bunch of smaller limbs I didn’t think my chainsaw would work, I thought I’d have a lot of kickback. So I did first try my jig saw and a hand saw and neither went very well. So I went and got my chainsaw and Riley helped hold the smaller limbs down while I cut so that they weren’t popping back.

 

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We got the majority of the bigger ones along the bottom cut out and pulled away.

 

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Then got to work on the smaller ones around the bottom with the pruning sheers.

 

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So we got a lot cut out but the run was still a mess and the sun was setting.

 

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This is what this guy looks like close to the ground. Lots of big and lil limbs just going all over the place. I’ll have to make sure to prune this every few mths so it doesn’t get all wild again but that’s totally fine by me.

 

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Finally got the whole area raked out of debris, trash, horse poo, etc.

 

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She’s all cleaned up! The biggest thing left to do for the run is build all new fence around it, put in a gate/door, predator proof the bottom with hardware cloth, put netting over the top and add some features inside the run that I want to do like you’ll see below in my Pinterest inspiration photos. So yeah, still a lot to do but cleaning this up motivated me to keep at the project finally!

 

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MY FAVORITE BEFORE AND AFTER WITH THIS PROJECT SO FAR!

 

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I’m still amazed at how it actually looks like a tree from a distance even though it’s just a bush. It is so tall it has to be at least 3-5 years old. And something that has survived that long on it’s own I just couldn’t dare remove.

 

Here is the video on YouTube I just published today talking about this chicken coop project, doing a tour of the inside, introducing my puppies to you all (lol!) and a photo collage at the end of all these photos I just shared on here!

 

JUST SO THAT YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHERE I WANT TO GO WITH THIS COOP HERE ARE SOME IDEAS I’VE FOUND ON PINTEREST THAT I’VE SAVED AS MY INSPIRATION PHOTOS!

 

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I want a run built like this but with netting over the top!

 

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I like the idea of having a super cute door like this on the run as a “gate” just because it’s so cute! And I may have an extra door or two I could use for this it is just a matter of making it work. But I do love the pop of color as well!

 

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I’m going to plant some things in the run in boxes like this for the chickens to eat as they grow UP because I just think it’s such an awesome idea! So this will go outside in the run!

 

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I’ve also read that chickens like to “play” on stumps and I have plenty of logs big enough for this so I’ll jam a few in the ground in the run for them to play on.

 

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Not only am I in love with the “fresh eggs” sign and just have to have one but I also love that they have all these potted plants and flowers right outside the chicken coop. I probably won’t do any non edible flowers unless I’m trying to bring bees to the area (there’s an idea….) but I will definitely do herbs and cumfrey right outside the door and also along their fence line.

 

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I love this PVC automatic chicken feeder idea!

 

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I want the chicken coop to be on solar for the minimal things that will be running out there and not really because it needs to be because there is already power to the coop but just as a step to gradually move all structures on the property to solar and all NEW structures will be only on solar.

 

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This is one of the ideas I saw where they use tree limbs in the coop for the chickens. In fact, I hope my coop looks a lot like this one because I’m going to paint it white in there and I also have to do the ceiling and I have enough limbs to do a setup just like this one for my chickens.

 

Well, thank you again for stopping by and checking it out! I hope you enjoyed the post and the video! If you have any suggestions on what I’m working on or what type of dual purpose bird to raise here in the Sonoran Desert that can handle the heat, I’m open to suggestions!

 

Please subscribe to stay up to date on what we’re doing here on our start up homestead! =D

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

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Homestead Video Tour at Little Farm Big Dreams 6 mths in!

Hey everybody! I put together a quick post strictly to share with you my first video tour of our start up homestead in southern Arizona! I wanted to show everybody what it is now as I’ve become utterly fascinated with homesteaders on YouTube sharing not only their farms and many helpful tips but their LIVES with the world. And maybe one day I’ll have so much going on here that I can do a video or two a week but for now I thought I’d start by sharing with you what I’m working with.

 

We have lived here about 6 mths now and in that time it was a huge transition period; getting used to living in the country, doing some repairs to the house that had sat empty for awhile, working on cleaning up and clearing 2 of the 8 acres (which is what the house and all out buildings set on, the rest are raw, as you’ll see in the video) and getting started home schooling.

 

I shared a post here about our big 5 mth update with a ton of before and after photos of what it was like when we moved in and things we’ve done!

 

If you’re interested in our endeavors in home schooling I shared a post about that here with a ton of information about why I chose to home school as a single Mom who is self employed!

 

So, about a week ago on a super windy day (I know, I’m sorry, lol!) I decided to do a quick video tour of the property. This is my first time working with videos and tying them together through YouTube and learning some basic editing tricks. I still have much to learn but I’m excited to one day incorporate more videos into this blog for an over-all experience for those following along for education OR entertainment!

 

Here is the link to our YouTube video, our first homestead tour!

Please give it a like and hey, maybe you’ll even feel like subscribing to keep an eye out for any future videos and/or to make me feel special! Lol! 

 

As always, thanks for stopping by our little piece of heaven here online! =D

 

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

#startuphomestead #singlemomhomesteading #southernarizona #sonorandesert #8acreproperty #littlefarmbigdreams

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