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We started these seeds a few weeks ago thinking that by now they would have made it into the gardens. But there’s not enough water to warrant a planting. The ponds are starting to go dry. The house hole is dry. The gardens are dry.

Last week we mixed that wood ash into the spot in the chicken field that once held popcorn. These jobs are always exciting because it doesn’t seem to matter how old you are; digging in the dirt is fun. So we added lava sand and Texas green sand and compost and mixed them all together into the heavy clay soil. The clay was pretty much impenetrable so we will wait for rain to finish the job.

The livestock need water and the perennial trees need water so what pond water remains is reserved for them and not the annuals that we could be planting. Still, we planted a second round of starts the other day only knowing we are to plant, never knowing what will become of what is planted.

Our personal water tanks are getting low now too and so we pray for and think of rain often these days. I never dreamed of a land without water, not when rain fell often and waterways were plentiful in my native Minnesota.

It is now a constant presence in the back of my mind. When we wash dishes. When we make meals. When we bathe. When we fill the water filters. When we wash our hands. Water is in use constantly and holds a high value in a place such as this.

We don’t know when the rain will come, though some are guessing at a small “possibility” this weekend. We don’t know if the fall garden will become the winter garden or if tomorrow will bring the five inches that rained down in October of 2011 after months and months of drought. That was two days before we first set foot on this land.

We just don’t know. And so we pray… and wait… and prepare for rain.


We have heated exclusively with a cast-iron wood stove through the previous four winters here in Texas. Somehow we’ve always managed to scrounge together enough firewood through barter or harvesting from our own land. In that time we’ve burned mostly mesquite and reclaimed wood.


Much of that reclaimed wood had the remnants of use left behind in the form of nails and other hardware. Just the other day we were mixing all sorts of stuff into the soil in preparation for a fall or winter garden and we finally got around to sifting out some of those nails.

IMG_8809 IMG_8814 It was a pretty dirty, dusty job but a free resource we just can’t bare to waste, even if it takes us some time to use it all up.

IMG_8823 IMG_8819 IMG_8826IMG_8831The girls insisted on examining the barrel after Daddy was done with the sifting.


And once everyone had passed inspection, Stewart threw the barrel on one of our more-oft used pieces of homestead equipment – the dolly cart. IMG_8837Inevitably something went off the rails…

IMG_8842but eventually the parade to the garden was in full swing with helpers and watchers all on their way. And that’s when the dirty job began in earnest…