Midian Ranch Blog

This is the web log for Midian Ranch, an isolated homestead in rural Nevada. It is owned by Jason and Tina Walters, whom are also its regular posters. This blog is exclusively for the enlightenment and edification of our friends, family, and colleagues.

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Location: Gerlach, Nevada, United States

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Squeaker the Pigeon, Paving Stones, and a Little Rain

First of all let me apologize to all of you for not posting more. It’s been a while since you last heard from Tina and I. We’ve both been a bit busy lately: working on the ranch, working for Hero Games, traveling, writing, and generally enjoying the Black Rock Desert lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard to achieve. Please forgive me if this post isn’t particularly organized, even compared to the flow-of-consciousness style I periodically slip into.

Infancy isn’t a very attractive stage of life. Oh I guess babies, puppies, and kittens are nice enough looking, but infants mostly spend their time in a repeating cycle of cry-eat-defecate that is only satisfying to the one who is engaging in it. Newly hatched birds are way less attractive than newly born mammals of pretty much any type. What few feathers they have stick out in clumps, their beaks and legs are way to large, and they instinctively projectile poop as a way of keeping feces out of the nest.

How do I know this? Through a strange chain of events we’ve found ourselves taking care of a perfectly healthy baby pigeon. Tina and I are well-known animal lovers. Apparently word has gotten around that greater Gerlach animal community that we’re suckers too. So when somebody around here does something stupid like knock a chick out of its nest or beat their dog, it somehow always seems to end up a Midian Ranch (at least for a while). It’s been pretty educational. Squeaker the Pigeon is, well, a baby. He (She? Who knows? Let’s say he.) cries (Cheeps? Squawks?) all of the time, eats constantly, and… well, a lot of the third thing too. I guess that there is baby bird formula you can get, but we haven’t been into town in a bit so we’re been alternating between feeding him cream of wheat and high protein canned cat food. Since a pigeon rather sensibly moves from infancy to adulthood in about a month, he’s really hungry all the time and grows visibly each day. So far the little guy seems pretty healthy, but cross your fingers. Baby pigeons are notoriously hard to keep alive.

Tina and I finished our long-term project of burying hundreds of pounds of paving stones in our front yard to create a T-shaped walkway. Since I’ve basically turned the yard into a giant mud puddle in my ongoing (and so far successful) attempts to grow a front yard, this allows one to walk to the front door of the mud room without getting one’s feet, well, muddy - in theory at least. We harvested all of the stones ourselves from the property ourselves, so the whole thing has a nice desert “vibe” to it. The grass has even started growing between some of the stones, which I take to be a good sign.

The weather has been unpredictable lately. Yesterday it was 93-degrees out and 70 at night. Today it was 80-degrees and should be in the 50’s at night. The weatherman says that in a couple of days it will be below 70 at noon. It also rained a bit today, which was really, really nice. Everybody – sage brushes, mountain lions, jack rabbits, potato plants, and even humans – likes a nice rain out here. If it did that everyday this place would be a normal person’s paradise instead of, you know, the kind of paradise people like me enjoy!

I should have the three solar panels and my windmill back here in a few days, allowing me to complete this stage of my off grid power system - give or take some new batteries. If things go as I have planned we should be able to go for two or three days without running the generator. The way I am finishing this up should allow me to make the leap from a 12 volt to 48 volt system all at once. It’s going to be a while before I have the money to make the leap from running the generators once a few days to once a week (I’ll have to buy solar panels by the skid to do it), but I am confident that I can pull it off. There is some new wind technology out there that is looking pretty promising as well.

Our garden is doing pretty well. The beefsteak tomatoes died the second I put them in the ground, but the bush tomatoes, mustard greens, and spinach seems to be doing alright. So are the garlic, potatoes, and onions. We’ll be planting some gourd seedlings soon as well, with cucumbers and zucchini following shortly thereafter. Everything starts its life on our kitchen table before being planted, which is kind of ironic when you think about it. I hope to get to building the greenhouse I’ve planted poles for this summer, but we’ll see what happens.

We’re gardening on a pretty small scale, of course – no more than a dozen plants of each type – but it should serve as a model for the future. I’m optimistic that by 2010 Tina and I should be able to supply a certain percentage of our own food from the property if things continue to be successful.

Well, that’s about it. I pray that you all are well. Billy and Novella: I hope that your farm in the city is doing well. Jenny: hope that things are still groovy down on the Sea of Cortez. Chris Karma: get some sleep man! Lucy & the Kids: call me. I want you to come out here before it gets too hot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you really love your baby bird you'll chew some bugs and spit them into his mouth!

9:30 AM  

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