orchard2013

Our efforts have failed.  But it is not a complete loss as something could be learned here.

Our gardens in Hilton Creek have grown and flourished, our plantings on the Indian Creek Ranch are now mostly memories.  What happened?  It's mostly about time.  I thought that managed from afar, we could make a good run but that's not usually the case.  Most things successful need hand's on work, there's no real way around it.

Big mouth and I hit the road.

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Farewell to Fish Lake Valley.

Yesterday we sampled Pop Tarts, Coca Cola, Ice Tea, Coconut water, and almonds up at Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge. Quite a show was being put on for the Olympic qualifiers on a 22' half-pipe built entirely out of man made snow.  

Today I'm out about 95 miles east of Mammoth with some of those snacks (and Casper) in tow.  Final preparations need to be made to pull our trailer off the land.  The trailer is filthy, mice crap everywhere and some damage and dead mice too.  It isn't easy cleaning up, but it needs to be done and outside the failed attempt to restore an old orchard sits quiet.

To add insult to injury is the theft of our old 80's Suzuki QuadMaster.  Thieves even took the chain from our tire swing. (tow chain?)  I figure the quad is in one of three locations nearby in FLV.

1. down below in the farm lands - one time I saw a few kids flee on quad (all on one) after re-routing ditch water I had just patched up.
2. over in the newest subdivision of Chiatovich Creek
3. blown-up and destroyed somewhere in a drainage high in the canyons above

Lessons:

Action is interesting.  Our plans were allowed to happen because the land owner liked having someone out there doing stuff. We were out there to accomplish and work the land.  In retrospect, nothing beats that.  Since then I've let people on to use some of our lands.

Long distance growing is not a part-time hobby.  One thing I noticed was once the water was flowing all sorts of weeds grew, some taller than our trees and it was unmanageable. I brought out a weed-whacker and fried the engine because it was too much brush to handle.  Also, the wild horses loved what we were doing.  The irrigation brought them out in force and they trampled ditches and sent water everywhere.

Finish a project before moving on to the next distraction.  This is big.  We could have too many irons in the fire, from the time it took to start planting to pulling out our trailer we embarked on so many other projects.  Meanwhile maintenance gets deferred: we have a shack looking like the leaning tower of Piza, animals moving into another cabin, roofs leaking, etc.

Ghosts - don't worry about what they think of you.  Sometimes I worry about what others think of me and now I'm thinking about what the ghosts care?  Don't bother.  Indian Creek Ranch has it's share of spirits, doing a lot of work day in and out sometimes they'd wonder what fool of a city slicker was up to next.  It happens.  "50 years to late", the wind whispers late at night.  Small rattlesnakes slither, "stay with us, but watch your children, this land owes you nothing."

From failure comes opportunity - you just have to recognize it and be ready.  A few miles from the orchard lays huge mining salvage yard where the past owner of the May Lundy Mine stages his mining equipment.  The owner of the IRC told us he was worth millions and they both bought some empty railroad cars from the Hawthorne munitions dump at the same time (to save on shipping).  Anyhow, to make a long story short we had something in common with that neighbor and successfully purchased the May Lundy mine from him.  It's a good story for another time...

Trees and the effect on water quality and quantity: Admittedly, I'm not the best when it comes to searching the internet but I can get around.  Little could be found on what is better for the environment, trees on your creek or not?  Indian Creek is choked with willows, it's the perfect environment and they grow like weeds.  Although they keep erosion down and limit evaporation by shade, the hundreds of thousands of saplings drink up all the water so little is left over for farming - it's out of control.  Indian Creek is land-locked by USFS, previously it was administered by BLM.  The BLM used to come out annually and burn the willows back, USFS does nothing and would probably object to a burn back.  Bottom line, willows need to be managed.  Which brings up the next topic.

Animals and tractors.  To work wild farm land these two components are necessary.  Sure, we did some damage with the 'Irish backhoe' -shovel- but on acreage that gets old quick.  Needed animals to eat the willows and vigorous undergrowth.

Miscellaneous lessons from NV and Fish Lake Valley.  If you are driving through expect a wave, and, wave back!  Nevadans are passionate about their dirt roads, you won't find the Friends of the Inyo blockading roads on the INF in Nevada as the locals just won't stand for it.  Firecrackers and sky rockets are sold at the local gas station - the good ones too.  And there are definitely less rules and regulations when it comes to owning and using firearms.  In general there are less rules and regulations and the Fish Lake Valley area boasts of having no building inspectors.  So, if you want to build a cabin, or other structure, go for it.  It's all refreshing and the hot springs are great.

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Owl in dead Locust tree thrives with out the use of poisons.


Airing out the trailer, tires did well holding air over the past four years.  Learned later they had tubes in them.  Split rims.

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Going to miss those views, but we're always welcome back.


Loading up for the grand finale.


One last wipe down on the kitchen.


Empty kid's pond, willows encroaching.


School house still standing.


Leave you with that 5 a.m. morning shot from 2011.  It's a favorite.



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