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!!!





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!!!

Share Button

Swales in landscaping/gardening!



I don’t even recall where I first learned the term “swale” or what they are but google keeps telling me it isn’t a word or I’m misspelling it, haha! But, alas, it is a thing! I’ve dug 2 swales around my 2 withering cottonwood trees and used that to slowly, SLOWLY bring those back to life. And since my pomegranate trees are right next to those I dug a small trench from 1 swale to the pomegranate trees and then dug a swale around all 5 of those trees (1 big swale) and they are doing great as well!






So I thought I’d put together a post with some research I’ve found online to help anybody explore this topic if they feel intrigued!




This video on YouTube shows how someone dug a swale in the Sonoran desert and left it alone for 80 years and the ending result! Amazing!!!


This video is a great shot of how a guy uses small swales in his urban garden. So these can even be used in small spaces or micro gardens, aka, micro swales, rather than large scale permaculture situations!


NOW…this video made me make a sad face when I saw his wedding ring (haha!) and say “AWESOME!” out loud at 2:15 when he shows how he redirects rainwater into a channel system, into a rainwater diversion box INTO these two pipes that shoot out rain water into 2 tree swales to water 2 citrus trees! GENIUS!!!!!! Ahhhhh! Endless ideas on YouTube. He is one worth following on YouTube, especially because he lives in the desert like I do!


If you think you can’t do swales on flat land, this guy proves that wrong in this video, so worth checking it out! Capturing 12,000 gallons on water from just rain, with minimal grade in the land!


Want to know all about swales from a permaculture “expert”? Well here ya go!


I think that might be enough videos and so hopefully if you think this is something you might want to add to your garden then I recommend doing your research and setting yourself up with a way to “harvest” rain water and redirect it to where you need it, even without pipes and drains!




Share Button

08-02-15 Rain and the end of Monsoon!

We did not get much done around the farm from early July to early August because it was just too hot!!! When we first moved in I knew I’d need accurate outdoor temps and I have always thought the temps on the media outlets are WRONG. So I bought a good indoor/outdoor system with an outdoor thermometer and an indoor 7 inch digital wireless monitor! It measures indoor and outdoor temps as well as humidity. The temps throughout July and even in August got up to 126 degrees at times!!!! So even when I would try to get up at 6am it would already be in the high 90s! Add to that that June to August is our Monsoon (rainy season) in Arizona and the humidity was suffocating on top of the already super high temps!

On our “First Summer” on the farm I definitely learned a lot, from experience and also talking to my modern homesteading neighbor. It reminds me of the show Alaska; The Last Frontier how they rush around all Spring, Summer and Fall to get all of their chores and hunting done because in the winter it is so terrible they stay indoors as much as possible and just “survive”. Well that’s how the Arizona summers are! And it isn’t the hottest June and July as I had always kind of thought or assumed, without putting much thought into it really. Rather, it is hottest July and August, with August being the worst by far! Lesson learned! I actually went ahead and put a note in my Google calendar for NEXT year to make sure all major outdoor projects are done or nearing completion by June, so that I don’t plan to put too much effort into outdoor chores during the hottest time of the year. Thankfully here we have wonderful weather almost the entire rest of the year. So I will be using that to my advantage all the way up until next summer!

So as the days ticked by I had to focus on indoor projects but thankfully I was pretty busy with work and so I didn’t have a ton of time on my hands as it was. But come the first week of August we had had a big storm and it caused some damage.

Our property is primarily flat and mostly level so when it pours it just pools in some areas around the property and causes some MINOR flooding. This picture above is the corner of the front yard, that yellow is the dying bamboo along a broken fence. Just beyond that is the driveway.

This is looking off of our front porch to the west 2 acres of ours that is totally vacant, natural desert. It looks like much more rain out there than it really was.

After a good storm we had this small dead tree fall. Thankfully it fell away from the house and just “rested” on this fence, didn’t cause any damage.

This is a tree in our backyard that as far as I can tell has never had a water source going to it. I’m not sure if it’s a native desert tree or a planted evergreen tree. Because it hasn’t had leaves I can’t tell what kind it is. I’ve been watering most all of our trees weekly by hand just to try to spur them in the right direction. This guy started getting a few green leaves on it by the end of Summer!

You see the green leaves!!!

Being as the goal is 100% homesteading and being self sufficient that will eventually mean eating all natural and only eating what we can produce or reproduce here on the farm. The idea may sound far fetched but it really is what I want to do. So I decided to splurge on getting myself a great cutting board as I planned to be doing a lot more cooking than I normally do!

Not only is this cutting board awesome but it’s also beautiful and I love having it on my counter at all times! Makes me feel somewhat like a…dare I say…grown up!!!

Share Button