2017 Summer Summary

Despite little news from this blog, we are still busily keeping on.  We’re still gardening, still picking fruit, still trapping raccoons.  Some things just never change.

But sometimes things do change.  We’ve been working hard on changes to the house this summer, the house is getting a new look, I’ve been painting all summer.  Stucco work is planned for this fall followed by more painting, enclosing the front patio, and finishing up the work we started in the apartment.  Eventually we’ll starting work on enclosing the back walkway around the house and adding a back patio, but one thing at a time.

For now I thought I would share a few pictures from the last week or so, who knows maybe this will be the start of a new blogging trend.


The painting in front is done and is ready for stucco repairs and I’m painting in back now.

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On Ongoing Well Problems

So, I started out this spring talking about making to repairs to sprinkler lines.  We tore down that old well house and made the repairs only to find we were still not getting water through the system, so we had the folks from Rodgers out and had the impeller repaired on the pump only to then find that we have to have a new well drilled.  This whole ordeal has meant  we’ve had something of a difficult summer; the prolonged period of hot, dry weather (with temperatures around 100°  for the entire month of  July) combined with the well being out  of commission had us struggling to keep everything alive on city water and trying to manage the enormous water bills.

Fortunately we’ve recently had some good rain, which has given us some really needed relief, the temperatures have come down and it looks like we may actually get this problem resolved and have a new well by next month, maybe, crossing all our fingers and toes.  The well is on the back of the property and in order for the well to be drilled we have to make it possible for the big truck that drills the well to get back there. This means all kinds of work taking down fences, burying water and electric lines and moving stuff.  Most of these tasks are things we’ve been talking about doing anyhow, for years we’ve been saying how convenient it would be if we could drive the truck all the way to the back, and we’ve always intended to put the water and electric going back to the barn underground.  It’s also an opportunity to do some general clean up and hauling some stuff to the dump, particularly since we now will be able to get back there with truck making loading stuff up so much easier.  So, not all bad news at least there is the motivation to get those projects done.

So we’ve made some progress on getting the fist gate down, widening the “road” and moving the fence. I’ll just say right now, thank God we have the tractor.  Next Don will work on a trench for water and power lines, and again, thank God for the tractor.  Then we’ll be down to taking down a fence and moving stuff.

While Don works on moving the power and water lines I’m headed to Flagstaff with Atsili for a 3 day horsemanship clinic with Lee Smith.  It’s a bad time to go, but it was planned before we knew we would have to have a new well, so we’ve decided that I’ll still go.  I’m feeling a bit guilty that not only will I be going and not around to help, but also that I’ll be taking the truck with me (which means hauling stuff to the dump will have to wait). But,  guilt aside I’m really looking forward to the trip, I love Flagstaff  and horse camping for  3 days with nothing to do but ride is bliss for me.   Plus riding with Lee.  Hopefully I’ll remember to take some pictures, I know you all enjoy looking at pictures of horses as much as I do.

More on the well after I get back.

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Better Late Than Never

This entry is long overdue!  I had it mostly completed a month ago; I was all set to tell you about the things that have been going on at Johnny’s Garden this spring, all the baby chickens and drip irrigation in the garden, getting the ditches cleaned out, and then the shit hit the fan.  Both of our vehicles died at the same time, our VW Jetta TDI blew a turbo and locked up the engine with only 86,0000 miles and when I took the old pickup truck in for service the technician who takes care of our truck shook his head sadly and said it’s time for another truck, both in the same week.  Oh yeah, and the well is on the blink too.  Needless to say this threw us for a loop.  Things are better now, Volkswagen anted up for the car repair, which took a month but was 100% free, and we bought a new to us 2003 Dodge Ram pick up which I love.  So we’re back on track with the vehicles and now can work on addressing whatever it is that’s gone wrong with the well and get back to all the other stuff going on this spring….Since we have all that settled, I guess I may as well give you the journal entry I’d prepared a month ago.

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The New Deal

A year or more ago Don and I decided that it was time to scale back the garden to something that was more manageable, something that Don could enjoy rather than be oppressed by, so we moved all of the chickens into one coop and intend to re-purpose that empty coop for gardening.  This plan has a couple of advantages aside from just being less work, for one thing the area is already fenced and what was a chicken house is easily transformed into a tool shed.  As an additional bonus there is already water from the well to what is now the new garden.  So, we’ll garden in boxes in this smaller, fenced space.  I don’t have any pictures of this new garden yet, but I’ll post some soon, as we start putting the beds in and  working on getting it ready for planting in spring.

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Hard Reset

That’s as good a title as any I suppose, a fair comment on life and how things don’t ever proceed the way you thought they would.

Once again, it’s been a year since I’ve written, more than a year this time.  Something about spring always brings me back here eventually, this year is no exception.  This year though things are much different than they were in previous years.  We’re still here, still holding on but the visions have changed, and Johnny’s Garden today is not what it was at the start or what we ever had imagined it would be.

Last year we tried making a connection with Food Karma, the idea being to provide produce for the Food Karma endeavor in exchange for help managing the overwhelming workload that a property like Johnny’s Garden takes to maintain.  And there was a good exchange, but not enough in the end to really make a difference.  There simply are not enough hours in the day, Don is only one person and my own pursuits have kept me largely away for a couple of years now.


I actually wrote those opening paragraphs in the spring of 2015, nearly a year ago.  It’s been almost two years now since I’ve posted to this blog.  My feelings about the blog are somewhat complicated, and parallel the intense emotions I feel about Johnny’s Garden and our original vision for what our lives here would be.  The simple fact is that vision is not going to manifest and we’ve moved away from that and into a new reality that better matches our current circumstances but I haven’t been able to do that with this blog.  Truthfully I haven’t really tried, I’ve just let it sit here and be a thorn in my side and place where I  put my guilt.  Time for a spring cleaning perhaps?  I talked with Don about it today: “I’m thinking about posting in the blog again, but I don’t know how to write about our lives here anymore”.  Practical as always Don said, “write about what you do with your horse, about the ducks and the geese, just write about what we do”.  That seems simple enough right?


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Something New Under the Sun

It starts to become challenging to find something new to say about spring at Johnny’s Garden, the forsythia is beautiful, I try to fill my nose with the smell of lilacs with every breath while it lasts, the tulips are still my favorite and this year my iris’ in the front bed will finally bloom!  Spring is always exciting and anxiously awaited, but it’s shed and seed and shovel every year.  This year though there is something new to talk about; our partnership with Food Karma is off to a great start!  The new energy and purpose is exciting and refreshing, and the work is getting done! Wade, Skyler and Gigi have been showing up every week and the contribution they are making is enormous. If things continue as they have been we should have things at Johnny’s Garden ship shape in pretty short order.

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New Beginnings

Today is the first time in a very long time that I’ve even looked at this blog.  I scrolled through posts and watched all the “anniversary slide shows” that I’ve made over the past few years.  It made me sad, Johnny’s Garden is such a beautiful dream and there has always been more potential here than Don and I could harness on our own despite mostly his heroic efforts.  As for myself I’ve utterly failed Johnny’s Garden the last couple of years.  My heart has always belonged to horses since as early as I can remember.  Looking back I suppose I should have known that once in my life again they would steal me from everything else.  Atsili is a great joy to me, and I wouldn’t give him up for the world.  The  volunteer work I do with the NM Mounted Search and Rescue, is good work and important, something I feel privileged to be able to do, but its time consuming and I saddle up and ride away from my obligations at Johnny’s Garden leaving Don holding a bag he can’t manage by himself.

Not having the man power that we’ve needed to make our dreams for Johnny’s Garden a reality has always been our biggest dilemma right from the start.  If the horses had never come into my life I don’t know how much difference that would have made, we would still be overwhelmed.  Over the years we’ve considered different options for resolving this problem without successfully hitting on the right solution, but now, maybe, we have the opportunity to breath new life into those dreams.

My son Wade did some world traveling a few years ago and came home with some dreams of his own.  He has launched a non profit organization, Food Karma.  It aims to feed a community, good, locally grown whenever possible, affordable food even for those who maybe can’t afford it.  It turns out that Food Karma and Johnny’s Garden have just the resources that each need.  Johnny’s Garden has the potential to produce food, a lot of food, fruits and vegetables, eggs, goats milk.  Food Karma has the youth and energy that Johnny’s Garden needs to thrive.  Food Karma and Johnny’s Garden will join forces to create something that can potentially feed all of our dreams.

This idea is still in its infancy but it is spring, the best time to begin and we have the power to shape and transform that which we set our intention on.  I hope you will be hearing new and wonderful things from Johnny’s Garden and Food Karma as we set out on this new path together.

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