Winter was beautiful this year, so much snowfall, it softened the desert and watered the ground.





We were able to get out and hike to celebrate Valentine’s weekend


There is a huge cognitive dissonance between; hiking through the geological time of the Columbia River area (Millions of years), and the minute by minute ‘reality’ in the button pushing Monkey World of petroleum, Stock Markets, Conflict, and the self-made human drama fiasco.

IMG_2327March comes as it always does, suddenly, and with it a very long ‘to do’ list.  This year was no exception.

The landscaper who organizes our yard waste program, had an old building that needed to go away,


So in late February, we began the dis-assembly in order to transport the pieces back to the property. Some of the materials will be used for wildlife watering stations in the heat & drought months.



Little by little it came apart, thousands of nails later




On the first day, we received a gift from a stranger, she felt she was getting ‘too old’ to tend to her nine rose bushes and ordered the landscaper to rip them out. Now they have a home in our grape arbor, IMG_2450all nine of them – and they are adapting beautifully.

Two things;

  • Roses aren’t the superficial high maintenance Horrorculture plant of choice for the colonialist empires of England and the US.  I have learned, from working with our efforts to reforest parts of Afghanistan with Samsortya, Roses have actually been used as a companion plant with grapes for centuries. They are quite happy in the Bsk Semi-Arid climates around the world, such as Eastern Washington & Jalalabad.
  • I found it rather odd that someone would rip out their rose bushes because they themselves were getting too old and flashed upon History’s great kings and rulers that upon death, ordered living people, plants and animals to be put to death and buried with them.


There is a barn, aluminum roof, strong bones, and a mess left behind by former owners. This is where the wood from the old building will be stored.


The backhoe cuts a line along the eastern portion of the property for a road of sorts that will allow the truck with the deconstructed building to be emptied. This new road will also serve as a firebreak and access by emergency vehicles should there be a fire from that direction. It’s the goofy red line drawn on this google shot (and yes there is an old motocross track on the property, looks more like an ancient burial mound from the sky).


CBP Property Google Earth Photo




Everything in this truck was loaded and unloaded by the hands and efforts of two people.


The fencing and posts come out with the use of the back hoe




The interior of the barn space is taken apart, and cleaned up.




















The materials are unloaded



and stacked neatly for later use.


All this is being accomplished now in preparation for the truck to begin it’s scheduled rotation (April – November) in and out of town, carrying yard waste for other uses on the property.

IMG_2413In addition to 400 starts of annual vegetables, herbs, flowers, perennials started in the greenhouse, I’ll start 100 black locusts from seed. The black locust will be planted first, to fix nitrogen and provide over -story shade for the dwarf fruit trees that will be set in place in 2017.




The greenhouse water catchment tanks filled quickly, and small overflow pipes were installed to direct any additional rains into the ground for storage, to the west planting under way, and the new Syrup Tree field to the east.



Yoshimi, the Foreman looks over the work


Meanwhile the horse poop program also starts in March,IMG_2398 and this can, in sets of 8 at a time are loaded and unloaded twice per month to be dispersed to help build soil as we expand the area for planting. What started as a dry, barren lifeless area around the main house has been growing to include 4 acres of life giving perennial plantings..all of the planting beds in the orchard get their share of aged manure and new compost from the compost pile.
















The small passenger truck gets a new hitch and trailer.


In Dora’s area a 5×10 bed held a small nursery of over 70 new trees & shrubs. They were moved to start their new journey, the bed moved along with another, and both planted to wild & domesticated flowers. The extra straw around the base of the bed is to reduce weeds.


Willow branches, from existing willows on the property , get cut and soaked in a bucket for two weeks,














then planted on the hillside to help stop erosion and slumping.



The willow cuttings for the living fence around the arbor are showing signs of growth





Every yellow flag I planted represents a future willow for the living fence



Two of the oldest buildings on the property will be taken care of this year, scraped & stained for protection, the small school house will have its roof finished.




…the patio gets cleaned up and all three beds planted , the chickens help where they can (in locations I haven’t fenced off).


This pile of birch bark is going to a designated location, to be used later on for other purposes. Nothing is wasted and nothing is horded – everything here has a value within the design. The pile can build up rather quickly when the main source for heating & cooking in the winter months is the wood stove in the kitchen.


Mariam (director of Samsortya) was able to visit us before all this got under way and made the most incredible food on the wood stove – food that held us together during the week of deconstructing the fallen building in the next town over.

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She was able to snap these photos of the chicken’s eggs, shortly before they were added to the meal.

Other projects done indoors either at night or when the weather is inclement (windy)


Soy Bees wax candles with essential oils, handmade paper, sage bundles (that subject for another post) and hand dyed scarves, stored dried wheat berries harvested and threshed by hand.


Patching work pants with fabric and hand sewn colored thread

All of this (and more) is my excuse for not having posted for awhile.