It was so nice to spend the long weekend in Hatch. The weather was wonderful, rain, sun, a light breeze and just the right temp. We have some wonderful friends who invited us up to share their home. This was a great time to unwind. We had no agenda, but did all kinds of relaxing fun wonderful activities –
- Sitting on the porch watching the sun rise
- Shooting our bows
- Shooting our pistols and rifles
- Sitting on the porch
- Riding quads
- Watching movies
- Sitting on the porch relaxing
- Going out for ice cream
- Sitting on the porch glassing for deer and watching the horses
- Going on walks
- Early morning runs
- Playing Spot It
Here are a few shots of the weekend:
Have a look at the entire gallery –
This week work has me in Austin. Both my office and where I am staying are just across from Lady Bird Lake. It is a popular spot for walking, running, biking, and all kinds of things on the water itself. My first day here, I noticed the lake from the twelfth floor window of our office. It is a spectacular view of the water and bridges.
My second day here I decided I wanted to explore. I had brought my bare foot shoes which I hadn’t worn in over a year. After work, I walked back to the hotel, changed, and headed out to hike Lady Bird Lake. The weather was a little warm, but compared to the Vegas weather it felt like a cool spring day. I started out on the trail around the lake. From what I can tell, you can do up to a 10 mile loop or shorter depending on what bridge you decide to cross. I ended up doing a little more than 5 miles including the walk from and to my hotel. Unfortunately this was about a mile more than my feet could stand in my shoes. I should have done something shorter to help them get used to bare foot walking again.
Some of the many people kayaking on the lake
There were turtles everywhere on the lake
From the bridge, you can just glimpse the trail through the trees on the edge of the water
Finally back — couldn’t wait to get these off
There are lots of tomatoes on the vines, but something is eating them before they ripen. I haven’t found a worm yet, but something is out there. The vines were everywhere, so yesterday I hung some fencing as a trellis and tied the tomato plants and cucumbers to them. I found a large cucumber already which was totally hidden before I began moving everything around.
This past week when it was 115°+ for two days, was too much for one of my poor chickens. The other 3 seem to be doing quite well though. The fish in the aquaponics pond are really growing. Some are close to 3″ now, nearly 3x the size of what they were when I first got them.
My neighbor gave me this great old lantern and ironworks which I hung in my yard.
The hidden cucumber
The pepper plants are taking off too now!
Took a few pictures of the garden last Saturday. Vines and shoots are going everywhere. I have about as much as I can tied up, but the whole garden has gone wild.
Just a quick post showing the growth in the aquaponics garden since the fish were added. Things took off quickly once the water cycled and the fish began to grow.
The fingerlings are now a little over 2″ in size, roughly double what they were when I first received them.
Have a look at the plants — the tomatoes, squash, and cucumber plants are running everywhere. In the back you can see my lettuce has gotten so big, it is going to seed. In the middle of the growth is a cilantro plant which also has gone to seed. I’m interested to see if anything will sprout on its own.
Lettuce Going to Seed
Vines Going Everywhere
So far, I’ve only eaten lettuce and strawberries from the garden. Soon, I expect we will have lots of tomatoes, squash and cucumbers though. I’m looking forward to the summer harvest.
It was one year ago when I began a new project. I was going to build a chicken coop and start a little back yard flock. The endeavor quickly grew to much more than just a coop, adding an aquaponics garden and ultimately, re-landscaping the entire back yard. I really got sucked in by those backyard chickens.
I was lucky to have a friend who helped with the landscape design and more so, the labor!
This is what it looks like now that it is all done
The fish have been in the tank for 2 days now.
Our system has been cycling with seaweed extract for the past few weeks. Over that time, the pH has come down to 7 which is good. Today the fish arrived. I was surprised to find the pH for the bag water at 7.8. Over the day, I gradually added tank water to the bag, slowly matching the pH.
I’ve been cycling my system for 10 days more than what is on the chart below. I’ve been surprised that it never really cycled — no real rise in Nitrite and Nitrate never increased at all.
Here is what it looked like when I opened the shipping box.
It’s hard to tell, but there are 50 or more in that bag. They are about 1″ long right now.
Here is a clearer shot once I removed the outer bag.
Floating the bag in the aquaponics tank
Have a look at how the heirloom tomatoes and lettuce are doing.
It has been a wonderful year weather wise here in the Vegas valley. Temperatures are still moderate, making it nice when working out in the yard.
I got up early to get chores done today; and while I was out I picked up some trellises for my plants which are in the back corner of the yard.
Have a look at how the aquaponics garden is doing 3 weeks after I had to remove all the plants and empty it. All but 2 Armenian cucumber plants made it, and those two were always in trouble. I picked up another cucumber plant this morning which I hope will do much better.
Fish are on order. I expect they will arrive next Thursday. I can’t wait to see how things change once the fish are in the system.
All that is left is to add the rock which will give a finished look to the ground. I plan on putting in a redish/brown crushed granite.
Couldn’t pass a shot of the girls waiting by the door of the run.
The whole family took a quick trip up to Cathedral Gorge this weekend. It was great getting away from everything and being outdoors. Cathedral Gorge is a neat little place, sort of like a mini Bryce. There are a bunch of caves carved out from the hill side by the rain which are great for exploring.
With the aquaponics garden back together and most of the yard cleaned up, I let the chickens out to roam around on another beautiful spring day.
Here you can get an idea of the lighting I put in for a little night time ambiance.