Ten Months In

A short update on our Arizona progress

Why do I do this? I’m long in the tooth and not getting any younger! As a matter of fact, I’m now four months into my seventy second year on this wonderful planet and what do I do? Do I sit down and relax? Oh, no! Here we are in Arizona on our third ranch project. Somedays I wonder if I’m completely nuts. Other days I realize that to relax and sit on the porch gazing at the scenery… well, that’s just not me. I’m the one-foot-moving-one-eye-open gal! I cannot sit still!

Okay, I will admit one thing. I might still be moving but I’m moving a little slower. I’ve earned it. I might still be under the command of the Can’t Sit Still Club but the club is letting me ease off a bit.

We’re thinking ten more years and THEN we can sell off and move to a Hawaiian lanai and really do some serious porch sitting. My inner voice says Yeah Right! So, we’ll see.

Short and Sweet

So, when we got here ten months ago, we bought a somewhat run-down manufactured home on four acres. Half of acreage was cleared. The other half was solidly socked in with mesquite and white thorn acacia. At least it was all fenced even if half the fencing was not visible. The interior of the home was pretty nice, open and spacious. It needed painting so wall by wall I painted it. The carpet was, and is, a spotted, stained disaster like a tenement slum. At least it wasn’t stinky. We’re letting that be for the time being as we constantly track dirt and thorns in and out. Leaving it means I don’t stress over making it dirtier. Someday when the outdoors is under control then we’ll replace it.

This isn’t our furniture but how it was staged when we first saw the house. Our furniture looks pretty much the same in size and layout.

We increased the tile area in front of the fireplace so we could set firewood down on something sturdy and have a larger fireproof area for popping embers. But besides paint, and replacement of worn out ceiling fans and windows in the 2 bathrooms that’s about all we need to do to the inside.

I have blue sky designs for a Japanese soaking tub in the master bathroom and pie in the sky dreams to replace the windows throughout because the windows are crap.

Once we finally got the backhoe here from California Marty was able to (pretty much but not 100%) clear out the rest of the acreage.  Mesquite, yucca and white thorn acacia are tenacious! For example, you scrape off badly placed yucca and it just grows back! Marty has to dig down 3 feet and nearly break the back hoe to get the mother yucca root out of the ground! Now I know why the Native Americans had an endless supply of yucca shampoo. You can’t get rid of the stuff! Well, you can but you have to have pretty damn big equipment to do it!

The deck is now big and not baby poop yellow. There’s going to be a fence around the back yard and the crappy gate and fence are going to be gone pretty soon. There’s going to be a big round pen on the right, a tack room next to a riding arena and horse pens in the middle.

I’m working on the garden area to improve it. I’m taking out the ginormous ramshackle shade structure that the previous owners cobbled together with 2x4s, wire and what-have-you. I’m building a real grape arbor California style and am hoping that my severe pruning hasn’t shocked the life out of the ancient uncared for grape vines. Somehow, I think not. I think that in the spring the ancient vines will come back even better than before. They were allowed to vine all over the place and weren’t putting out many grape clusters last year. Then I’m going to plant a big kitchen garden and sell my leftover produce at the farmer’s market. Since the garden area is big (40’ x 80’) I’m going to put my chicken run and henhouse in there, too.

What a mess! Grape vines are now pruned back and half the ramshackle arbor is gone. Future site of kitchen garden and henhouse.

I also trimmed up the giant Arizona cypress that had been planted too close to north side of the house. Let the Sun shine, let the sunshine in, the Sun shine in! I did the same with two mulberries on the east side of the house. Now they all look like real trees instead of overgrown gigantic bushes.

Marty is going gung-ho on building horse pens, tack barn, riding arena and custom round pen with slanted sides. Slanted sides eliminate the accidental toe catching on the sides that is nerve racking on straight side pipe corral round pen fences. Makes for happier and safer horse training.

He also increased the size of the back porch so it’s actually a place a person can grill on the Weber and not feel crowded.

We’ve planted 20 trees so far: 16 eldarica pines, 2 Chinese elms, and 2 Arizona cypress. We’ve also planted evergreen salvia in front of both porches. We’re going to fence in the back yard and build a traditional ramada out there for backyard bbqs.

That’s Blue’s temporary horse pen beyond three of the 20 trees we’ve planted.

Are you tired yet? I am.

But I’m really seeing progress

9 thoughts on “Ten Months In”

  1. Suggested listening – from Hair, “Let the Sunshine In” but you probably were already listening to it, I bet. Yeah, more projects with each trip around the sun and the feeling of accomplishment with each never fades. So continue to get after it and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment @ the end of the day. BTW, I enjoy my Yucca and so do the critters (squirrels mostly). To think growing up, they were just house plants. Loved the pics; take care.

    1. You guys have yucca in Florida? I thought it was a desert plant. I know about house plants. In going to any tropical clime it’s easy to look around, point, and proclaim, “House plant, house plant, house plant!”

      1. Yeah, although mine in the backyard is often called a a Yucca Floor Palm Tree (no clue). Branches grow out everywhere with tiny, bell-shaped flowers @ the base that that honeybees love to pollinate in the Spring. Neighbors have the traditional Spanish Needle/Dagger ones that are brutal if you carelessly walk by them and your dog gives a tug @ the wrong moment/direction. Ugh, the blood.

  2. Truth! As I’m sure you noticed from my blog we ripped out everything that has thorns except for strategic locations where it’s not likely we would run into them. Also there are wild fires here and that’s all we need is a bunch of flammable brush to ruin our whole adventure. The neighbors are preserving the brush so it’s not in danger of going extinct! I was impaled by an agave once that put me in the emergency room. But that’s another story.

  3. So great to get to know you better and see where you live. We’re slowing down as well but doing the same amount of work it seems. I have a yucca…..it’s about a foot high after ten years and I dug it up from a friends garden when it was six inches high. I fear for its life every winter🤣.

    1. Don’t worry about your yucca so much. The root seems unkillable. It just may not get so big since it’s not in its natural environment. Our place is a work in progress. If we get it wrangled in 4-5 years I will be very happy. At least your place is in the maintenance phase. I wish we had NO neighbors like you but I have health issues so there ya go.

      1. Yes, neighbor’s 12 miles away is good. Sometimes I wish our cell phones could be trusted everywhere on the place because I have had to phone because I was stuck. I think our place is still a work in progress too. The mantra here is make it less work, and enjoy it more.

  4. You’re on a roll and work is paying off! Looking forward to visiting soon and enjoying early spring garden prep!!

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