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GOM

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Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #1 
Weird thing.  New Mexico is basically desert from border to border.  However, the state has vast underground aquifers, some many cubic miles in size.  In my situation, my home and acreage is on the western side of the state about about 25 miles south of Albuquerque.  The Rio Grande treeline is visible from my home about 1.5 miles away to my west.  

Now the Rio Grande (Big or Grand River in Spanish) is a 50 to 100 foot wide, muddy creek in my area.  It averages three to five feet deep with lots of sandbars and is dry a good part of the year.  However, and it's a big 'however,' the muddy creek one sees is only some slight evidence of a three to four mile wide aquifer that traverses the entire state from north to south.  My average annual rainfall is about 8 to 10 inches yet I can dig down about six feet and hit water.  This upper or 'ground' water is not very potable without a lot of filtering and so on and is so heavy with calcium it's not even good for crops.  But, drill down about 200 feet to the 'good' water, line the well it's full depth with heavy wall PVC except for the bottom 20 foot section which is slit with myriad fine saw cuts to act as a filter screen, and wow!---talk about beautiful, pure water in quantity.  A local company brought in a six inch diameter, 220 foot well for me last week and the output is estimated to be a continuous 300 gallons per minute!  I was stunned when the drillers 'blew' the well to clean it with compressed air. There was a solid six inch diameter jet going about 40 feet straight up.  They let that blast for 10 minutes or so and then throttled the air back so the geyser was about five feet high and they let that run for a full hour.   

The same company will be coming back this week to install a single solar panel, all the related electronics, and a direct current pump rated for 9,000 plus gallons per day.  I won't use a fraction of that for the 3.5 acre tree farm I'll be putting in using drip irrigation.  Thank God, no more ditches!  And no more weed seeds and all the other nasty stuff that comes in with ditch water.  My 3.5 acre plot is basically flat with a with a very slight north to south slope. It's approx 300 feet east/west and 500 or so feet north/south.  Looking south from my home, the west side will be firewood trees, the center will be fruit trees and grapes, and the east side will be xmas trees.  The heck with cropping, I'm totally tired of that and sharing too much of the produce with a multitude of insects.  Now I'll be setting up drip irrigation starting with 1.75 liter plastic booze bottles, about three per seedling tree, with very small emitter holes in their bottoms.  I'll do that to stay on the cheap side while I gradually set up a 'pro' type drip system as I save up the bucks to do it.  Another trick I'm considering and one that's widely used in this area, is to plant grass or even alfalfa between rows of trees and introduce flocks of domestic geese.  The geese eat the grass and the bugs and also produce continuous fertilizer, and the ganders are a match for feral dogs and even coyotes.  Team the geese up with a couple of gentle type small hogs who hunt and eat rattlesnakes and most of the pest problems are solved.  We shall see.  I'm pushing 82 so maybe a tree farm will be just the thing to keep me active and breathing while I wait for the first crops.  Oh, BTW, the xmas trees.  I don't know if you folks are aware of it but the trees are harvested annually by cutting off the growth just above the lowest set of viable limbs.  That upper growth is the tree you sell and the root stock then grows another tree for the next season.  Good, sturdy evergreen stock like that can produce xmas trees for up to ten years before needing replacement and some of the native trees are resistant to just about every blight and bug. Please wish me luck.         

Old McDonald

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Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #2 
GOM, I do indeed wish you luck. I installed a new pump in my own well (circa 250 feet) two weeks ago. I wanted solar, but settled for mains electric. The power was already there and the new set up, including a  line to provide a small overhead sprinkler system for my comfrey patch, an extension to provide drip irrigation to the adjoining vegetable garden and a line to a shallow well containing my main irrigation pump (the reason for installing the pump - topping up the shallow well) came to under €1,000. The cost of a smaller solar powered pump was way over €5,000 and that was minus the tubing, plus I had to provide the concrete base for the solar panels. It is still in the back of my mind to add panels later and use an inverter. The 1.5hp mains pump was €330 and a 1hp solar powered one was going to be €2385. 

Interesting that your drillers used compressed air to clear the bore. I set up a compressor pumping air down my borehole a couple of years ago (Google air lift pump for the concept) but did not have a big enough compressor to do any good when the well drew down in summer time - the only time of year I need it.

Good luck too with the geese. My experience in both Australia and Scotland is that the ganders run/fly away when a fox attacks and so I kept losing the geese whilst the ganders survived. I had a lucrative market for goose eggs in Scotland and wanted to breed my own replacement food in Australia. I ended up with only ganders so that was the end of that experiment.
GOM

Registered:
Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #3 
Old McDonald, 

Thanks.  You (and others in my area) have convinced me that geese are not a good choice.  I'm thinking now of going with some hogs and a couple of burros.  The mean little burros we have in my area are great watch 'dogs' and they are usually good at turning feral dogs into fertilizer.  Burros also produce a lean and tasty red meat and I've eaten many burror roasts and steaks in times past.  

Anyway, the tree farming continues.  I've finished planting a first 'batch' of 20 apple trees which are all doing well.  I'll follow the apple trees in February with about 30 'Burkett' pecan trees.  These grow to 100 feet or more with a 60 or more foot spread so they do have to be spaced.  The recommendation around here is a minimum of 50 feet between trees and rows.  The only disadvantage with pecans is the length of time they take to really bear a crop, about 12 to 15 years so I doubt I'll still be here to take advantage of that.  Oh well, my kids and grandkids will, I hope.  

A couple of weeks ago I chanced to stumble on an Internet Site called 'Tree IV.'  They sell green five gallon buckets with a hole drilled in the base which is fitted with a rubber grommet.  The kit includes a tapered and pierced 'spike' anout a foot long which is driven into the ground adjacent to the tree. The bucket then fits snugly over the spike.  Just fill the bucket weekly or so with five gallons of water which is delivered directly to the tree's root zone.  I love KISS systems like this and I'm now equipping all the small apple trees with the buckets.  As a tree matures, you can add three or so buckets at the drip line and continue with a weekly or so filling of the buckets.  Neat. I can mount a sizeable water tank in the front loader of my tractor with a remote on/off and just drive down a row and top up the buckets or simply use long water hoses  I was out installing buckets today until the temperature hit 102 about 3 p.m.  Thus time to quit that, go into the cool house, and have a cold beer (or two).  I'm an old 'desert rat' but have finally learned not to overdo it during the hot season.  

Anyway, thanks for the good advice and best regards, GOM

   
Old McDonald

Registered:
Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #4 
GOM, I was just on my way out to start again - same as you, I hide from the heat, when I saw your post. I will read it later and respond. 
Old McDonald

Registered:
Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #5 
I have never eaten burro. I have eaten horse a couple of times. Not too fond of it really, but would rather eat it than no meat.  My son's in-laws have a place in Italy and he has been served  "horse tartare" by neighbours - raw horse mince with a raw egg dropped in the middle of a cow plat sort of plateful with a depression made to fit in the egg. Apparently it is a great honour in the district to be offered such a dish. He had to eat his own, his wife's and those of his FIL and MIL without arising suspicion. Seems he succeeded because they wer einvited back again. Fortunately his mother taught him to eat whatever was put in front of him.

I like pecans (have a few most nights, with Moscatel de Sétubal, after the Port, cheese and biscuits before I start on the roasted nuts) and tried to buy some here, but cannot find any. I have one small field where it would be useful to plant maybe 10 trees around the outside. As you say they need a lot of space.

The idea of those IV fed trees appeals to me. Not suitable for my present set-up because of numbers, but I can see its use in an isolated orchard. I have just short of 500 olive trees (and just over 500 when I add in the fruit and nut trees) that I have under drip irrigation. I am also working up ground now to plant about 850 almond trees. Last year, due to lack of rain,and the river running dry, I had to hand water from early June to late September. A lot of work, but essential. Fortunately this year I am still irrigating from the river - drippers replacing a couple of acres of sprinklers in one rove of 180 trees. Saves a lot of time moving lines and watering the in-between areas that do not need water.

Just keep rolling along as the old song said.


GOM

Registered:
Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #6 
Old McDonald, 

Wow!  You make me small orchard look like a flower box in the window.  Still, I plan to fill the back 3.5 acres with various fruit and nut trees.  I was out early this a.m. installing the last five IV buckets on the last five of 20 aple trees.  Mulched the heck out of every tree with lots of old, mouldy hay, and then turned on the water from the solar powered well.  

I did notice young grasshoppers in evidence.  We had a real plague of them last year and I've been dreading their return this year.  I don't like to use herbicides or insecticides but sometimes it's a case of loosing valuable plants and fruit to the pesky things.  I have found that shallow pans with a gallon or two or water and a cup of cooking oil poured with a handfull of hay, grass, or weeds floating in the liquid makes an excellent grasshopper trap.  They jump in but the oil prevents their flying/jumping back out so they drown.  I had some real 'crops' of the damned things last year and I guess I may have to repeat.  

Re horsemeat.  I've eaten quite a lot of it over the years and began acquiring a taste for it during WWII. All meats except horse and some wild game were rationed here in the States and there were horse meat markets everywhere.  I like horses and grew up staring at the rear ends of one and often two from the handles of plows and cultivators.  Also did a lot of log skidding down mountainsides as a youngster working in the forests of western Arkansas.  That was really dangerous and I'm shivering a bit right now remembering running behind a horse and log down a half mile or so of mountain side.  

We still have large populations of wild horses here in the western US.  While in the Army I was stationed at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah for almost seven years.  Dugway was about 1200 square miles in size and 60 or so miles SW of Salt Lake City.  We had between 300 and 400 wild horses on the base and there were hundreds more in the surrounding hills and mountains.  In the winter, the horses would sometimes come into the housing area to graze on lawns, shrubs, etc.  A unique custom the wild ones have is to all poop in the same place.  The alpha mare of stallion does it's business and then all the others come and 'enrich' the same spot.  So, one occasionally came home to quarters from wherever to find a ten or twelve foot diameter and two foot deep pile of horse manure in the driveway or on the lawn.  Oh, yeah, the good old days.  BTW, some old timers told me the 'all go in one place' thing is a defense mechanism.  When the wild horses do that, they don't leave scattered manure trails for predators to follow and there were lots of predators in the form of mountain lions. .  

GOM
Old McDonald

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Posts: 64
Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks for that. I like your stories.
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