It was a beautiful day, about 60 degrees and no wind, a little overcast, so perfect to finally plant Desert Mimosas at the new lots.

Getting started in the SE corner

Got a good start on the trench along the upper southern property line to prevent washouts. The SE corner is an excellent place to start planting as the corner won’t interfere with the perimeter road and will provide summer shade and block some of the wind and dust.

The Desert Mimosa seedlings had long roots and I dug down about a foot, removed rocks larger than an inch or so, and poured two gallons of water into each hole.

After the water drained I backfilled about 6 inches.  No amendments, and I hope to get mulch around the seedlings soon.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have scissors or pruners to prune the roots, but I made sure the roots were not circling and instead of burying them going down I carefully laid them horizontally in the hole, towards the trench.

Initially, I’ll water the holes, but will have connected water wells for easy gravity watering once they start growing and I’ll backfill another inch or two.  It’s the highest part of the property so we’ll likely remove some more topsoil.

I’ll terrace the trench so it’ll hold rain water and I’ll also water the drainage ditch to encourage root growth towards it.

They’re too close together and I even doubled up in one hole.  Several seedlings dried up last summer, but one seemed to have good roots, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Looking north is so much space to plant and build, I don’t know where to start.

Have to take the long measuring tape next time and lay out a few 300 sqft or smaller buildings (no permits required) and the 20′ x 40′ hoophouse.

My neighbor Darryl Severson did a great job with his skid steer hugely expanding the small previously cleared area, doubling the width of the washed-out driveway, and clearing for a road to the boat.   He also lowered the boat a couple of feet so that it’s easier to get up into the boat and that was quite a job!  All that for $975 ($75/hr) and you can call him for a quote at 928-564-5501.

I originally cleared only for the hoophouse but realized that I might have to sell to someone who wants to build a big house and garage.   Now I know where I can safely plant.

Have about 40 Desert Mimosas, several willows, several Yellow Bird of Paradise and hundreds of seeds, and countless cacti and agaves to plant.  Also hope to get some Arizona Cypress and pomegranate cuttings rooted.

We already lightly raked and derocked some areas and there’s so much more to do!

The flat shovel and garden rake work well to level out the tire tracks. “Should” have done that before the dirt set up after rains and I should not have driven on the loose dirt.

We even brought the landscape rake:

NOT for rocks!   This aluminum rake is perfect for leveling and moving loose material.

Volunteer Axel did a lot of raking and derocking.   Can’t use equipment for that and I enjoy creating roads and building sites smooth as a baby’s butt.  If you do it right and prevent washouts, you’ll only have to do it once.

Now is the time for dirt work, while the ground is still wet and it’s easy digging.  In summer the dirt will be rock hard and you can’t do anything without a pick.

More rain is in the forecast, we need it!  But we sure enjoyed the nice weather, 66 F today.

What to build next?

Still have to finish the shed, but I’m excited about building at the new lots.

Maybe a 300 sqft adobe or cob storage building by the water tank and boat road, which still needs a lot of work.

Hope to soon test our lime-stabilized adobe bricks and decide how much quicklime to add to our mix.   So far we have 5%, 7% and 10% lime bricks.   It rained and froze and all are looking great after curing since before Xmas.   Can’t wait to soak them in water and then use the best mix for a few hundred stabilized bricks.   Makes for fast construction to have them ready.

Should we build a 15′ x 20′ or 17′ x 17′?

Or build another round structure with a 19.5′ diameter?   Easy and strong.   But, the roof.  That’s always the biggest problem.  I don’t want to use OSB or plywood, can’t find long untreated posts / poles, and the hogans I looked at require much more skill than I have and materials I don’t have.

How to build natural roofs is my biggest problem.

Would love to build a deck around the boat, but that’s expensive, not yet on my list.