I caught the backhoe problem before it did damage, but there is a challenge now with the pins, hardened steel rods about 1&3/4 inches in diameter, that are like axles allowing the bucket to pivot, and the retaining welds have broken allowing the pins to slip.

Looking for replacements, nothing close by, and today I’ll make a quick trip to talk with a local expert to try and understand better why the welds were used instead of the normal retaining clips and bolts, and whether it will be wise to go back to the original equipment configuration. I don’t mind investing money if it means a more functional machine.

Anyway, today is for garden plants, grape trellises, and buying a chipper. here goes another day in paradise.

New, Used Backhoe

Finally a morning where things are a bit quieter, no deeds to do or promises I have to keep. So of course I was out on the backhoe. started going around exhausting a tube of grease on the fittings, and I think I know why the new tube isn’t quite working yet, but I went ahead and did a bit of work anyway, starting it up and pulling a few small stumps, testing the power,  and generally getting some preliminary work done on the high dam. The clean up stage always takes the most time, saving topsoil, sorting out bigger rocks, etc etc.

Then as a change of pace I went to the lower green house where the figs are complaining about the more intense sunlight outside (leaves turning white), but figs are whiners anyway, drama queens that drop their leaves at the slightest change. I gave them a big drink of water, and told them to suck it up and make me some figs.

most of them are going to stay outside once I have the new mini climate set up for them. With a pond in front, and heat retaining wall behind them they should enjoy their new location.

I noticed there are lots of raspberries on the vines I planted two years ago, of course I may be away when they actually ripen.

I put some walmart goldfish in the lotus pond last night, they were dying in their tank at walmart, so if they survive it will be a miracle, but at least they will die free.

I’m also going around putting in tomatoes and peppers and have plans for multiple varieties of squash and cucumbers. I’m also close to having the potato beds ready for planting.

Just another day in paradise.

More big advancements?

I do apologize for the lack of pictures in recent posts, hoping to rectify the snafu in software soon.


Well, I bought a new , used, backhoe, so in theory things should start to move ion a more orderly fashion. The rental routine can be a nightmare with machinery consuming every second of the day, sometimes with split second decision making that ends up being counter productive.


To be able to move a couple piles of dirt and then take time to sort out rocks and debris before actrually using the soil (especially clay for the dam) is an invaluable time and quality saver. Bigger rocks are not optimum in the clay for the dam, and branches etc can be downright subversive. I have barely used the backhoe an hour or two and have already opened up areas for further hand work.


Of course the challenge will be to not try and get too perfect. Hand work is time consuming, and perfection can be the enemy of “good enough”.

Another new development is a working chipper, however this chipper has a 10 horse power motor, only slightly more powerful than the previous chipper, so I am considering a 20 hp chipper that promises to make very quick work of almost everything I can feed into it. the challenge will likely be to keep a perspective and not put too much too fast into it and possibly damage it with inadvertent rocks and the like.

With the influx of cash, I’m also feeling free to purchase things like reinforcing wire for trellises for the garden and gather in supplies that will be useful for longer periods of time. Bill talked about the concept of unused money as a pollutant, and in a very real way, this sort of goes to the axiom that the love of money is the root of evil. Money can be useful when put to use, or it can be a distractant, keeping us from really using it for good purpose, and hoarding it as if it were the actual stuff of life.

At any rate, one more day of travel for yard sales and supplies today, and then settle in for a week of application of these wonderful new tools and supplies.




Planting and more

Anyone following these posts understands there are more jobs here than any one person could hope to do. This can lead to a condition of inaction, uncertain of what to do next. But there is a way out of this frustration, and it amounts to simply chosing something and doing it until it’s not fun anymore.

I went out looking for backhoes earlier in the week and after looking at an older one that needed repair just to move it,  I finally decided that rentals will beat out buying a machine that will consume time just in repairs. Whatever the economics of money may be, the economics of my time require that I not get involved in the mechanics of the machines. It’s enough to operate them without having to repair them as well.

The other thing that became apparent is the idea that the bigger machines are going to be difficult to maneuver in many of the tight spaces, and as the ponds get finished off, more and more the jobs will be digging holes for plants, loading a pickup with gravel or mulch, and simple grading which can easily be done with a smaller machine.

But right now the task in front of me is planting. I found some tarot- colacasia- yesterday and it now has a home in the shallow end of the garden pond. I also bought four packs of tomatoes and herbs, and this morning set out about 10 plants, with some distraction from cutting grass and using the clippings to mulch the strawberries which seem to be making a recovery after all the weeds and neglect they suffered last year.

Last week I put in about 24 plants, two different types of lettuce and three types of kale. I also am adding mulch to the potato beds I started last year, with the anticipation that I’ll cut the trees nearby and keep a watering system handy. With more light, nutrient, and regular water, those beds will be a nice addition to the pond area.

In a week or so it will be time to put in my favorite crop- peppers- and I’m certainly looking forward to being better organized for the harvest. I don’t know if I’ll get the solar dehydrator going this year, but it’s good to remember how much of last years crop got neglected for want of an efficient processing system.

The biggest news is I bought a nice used pickup truck. Doesn’t need any repairs, will haul material easily, and strong enough to pull my trailers around. There have been so many times I have had to put projects on hold, trying to borrow a truck or get help doing simple chores. The boat for instance is now mobile again, not a permanent fixture because I have no easy way to haul it.

I’ve also contracted a man to bring some gravel and stone for the driveways, all getting ready to make the place more accessible to students and visitors. So I guess after thinking about all the steps moving forward in so many areas, all of which just happened (after lots of serious consideration) I guess things are not as difficult as they might seem.

Somehow there is an element of timing, and not wasting time worrying about things that aren’t ready to be done allows me to do the things that are front and center and anxious to move to completion. Maybe that’s part of the Permaculture lesson, picking the battles you can win and not worry about those that need to wait.