How Does the Garden Grow?

Very well, so far!

Many thanks to Heather Senske for exceptional garden maintenance and help.

And don’t forget: Junior!

Junior! is growing like a weed and loves to trot along on a lead. He also likes neck rubs and Lucy’s milk. 😊

A Crazy Last Day for Ranch Projects this Year

When we learned last month that I had to have shoulder surgery, we looked at our project list (with a bit of anxiety). We prioritized the big ones that required both of us. We are so grateful for friends who came to help! Guess we keep kicking down the road again: painting all buildings, new gutters and roof, more fencing, trenching more water lines, trenching heat from boiler to little house, paint pool fence, build new metal storage shed, rebuild front drive gate, and many others.

The selected big projects were:

We use a great deal of recycled materials, free materials or auctioned bargain materials for projects. For the arbor, we did buy 69 u-bolts, 12 bags of concrete and some ox\acetylene gas for cutting arbor trellis support crossarms. The vineyard arbor materials cost was less than $150. For the metal well-shed, total materials cost was about $75. The plumbing parts were most expensive (Biden’s fault of course), about $200, mostly because the high-volume pressure regulator was pricey. Regulator needed because the water storage for the emergency well is on the hill and gravity can generate 160 PSI. The irrigation system can only handle 60 PSI. But the fire hydrant needs all that pressure.

Vines are young and trellis essential now for decent harvest in future years. Three rows for 60+ grapes — wine, table, juice and raisins, eventually! Probably 1\2 mile of wire in all 3 rows of 3 levels of 2 wires per level, plus main wire.

White pipe is new irrigation tie-in to fire defense system

Below, left to right: wellhouse metal frame, David getting Heather with some supplies, David (and Heather) installed panels while Neil measured and cut them.

Phenomenally, with Heather’s help, we completed the irrigation tie-in AND the metal well-shed in ONE highly motivated day (yesterday) because …

… below is me today for the next two months, followed by eight months of rehab. David now needs all kryptonite to stay FAR away.

no pain … yet

Men and Their Wood

All this wood split, hauled and stacked in two days with the help of our friends Mike and Jim

Work. Lots of it.

After this was accomplished, we enjoyed a hearty meal and several rounds of beverages. We talked about these things:

  • Working together
  • Accomplishment
  • Shared values and stories
  • Energy
  • Nature
  • Fire
  • Machines
  • Inventions
  • Friendship

“Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” — Zen Kōan

For more on that saying: Enlightenment: 3 Meanings of Chop Wood, Carry Water

How much energy is in the gallon of gasoline to run the splitter? The equivalent of about 20-men for a day is the close answer.

Who invented hydraulics? We all benefit from the work of men and women before us. Pascal, anyone?

Finding ways to heal from disaster. The fire here in 2020 killed a lot of trees (and trees are still dying because of it). Two years later, we are still using the energy from those dead trees to heat our home.

We look forward to seeing Mike and Jim again at Thanksgiving. There might even be a cozy fire in the fireplace — if we can find the wood!

Ayi Dental

Almost three weeks ago, we wrote about Ayi’s malocclusion.

At first, we could find no vet dental care for a least several months. Then Ayi’s breeder suggested we try Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital in Grass Valley. Mother Lode saw us promptly and said we were looking at three options: 1) try to move the teeth with an implant; cut and cap the teeth so they stop digging into her palate; 3) pull the lower canine’s completely out.

Since we wanted Ayi to keep all her canines, we chose option 1. That was the most uncertain option, but it appears to have been successful!

Ayi had to be in a cone for 2.5 weeks, eat only soft food, and chewing on anything was forbidden. That was a little tough to manage for a puppy.

The total cost for treatment was $1097.68.

In the slide show, below, you can see the results in pictures:

  • a dog sitting next to a chewed and broken plastic cone
  • A plastic dog dental retainer mold
  • A dog retainer
  • Picture of dog canine teeth
  • Dog canine teeth
  • Dog canine teeth

In the end, it looks like Ayi gets to keep her canines! Whew.

Here’s what it looked like before we started:

Homestead Apprenticeship Opportunity!

Artwork by Azul

Have you or has someone you know said

“I wish I could grow more of my own food, but I don’t know how.”


“I wish I could live closer to the land, but I don’t have the land.”


“I wish I could take a break from the city.”

or something similar?

Well, here at Two Bucks Ranch, we can help make one or more of those wishes come true for the rest of 2022.

The opportunity is for one or two people to live in the cabin on the ranch to engage in all or some of the daily work and activities here, starting in July and going through December or early 2023.

We’ve often thought about having another kindred spirit or two live in the cabin on the ranch to experience and learn more about this way of living. It would be a great help to us and an awesome opportunity for one or two people with energy, hopes and dreams. The time has come for us to stop thinking about this and to offer it up now since Two Bucks Ranch is a 2+ person operation and one of us (me) is going down for shoulder surgery in less than a month.

Please reach out to us if you or someone you know is interested or would like to know more.

Water Flows for the 170th Year

Yesterday, we opened the Berry Creek Ditch!

The ditch was engineered and built in the 1850s (by the Express Water Company). The company claimed water from Berry Creek in 1852. Ever since then, water from Berry Creek has been annually redirected through a series of flumes and ditches into Canyon Creek, and then along lower flumes and ditches to adjoining farms and ranchlands.

The water was first used for gold mining, a sawmill, farming and ranching. Incidentally, the water also turned Canyon Creek into a vibrant, diverse, year-round riparian ecosystem. The ditch and its watershed were significantly damaged by the 2020 Bear fire. The ditch will continue to be impacted by the fire damage for years to come, especially falling trees, invasive species of grasses and berries, excessive runoff from extreme rain events, and the increased risk of repeat fire.

Reopening the ditch each year first starts with repairs, as well as brush and weed clearing. This can take several weeks and hundreds of hours of labor.

Then, to open the ditch, water ditch members and relatives, armed with pitchforks and shovels, briskly advance with the water’s leading edge, over 1.6 miles of ditch and flume, removing debris accumulated in winter while the ditch is shut down.

Cleaning debris at the water’s leading edge

For the first few hours, the water is murky. But it usually settles out within 24 hours. It takes about twelve hours for the water to reach our ranch from the initial point of diversion.

Canyon Creek flowing here at the ranch

Ayi Growing Up: Braces and Swimming Lessons

Ayi’s lower canines were trapped in and just behind the upper ones, digging into her palate. It’s called malocclusion. Options include total extraction, cut and cap, or braces (actually a retainer of sorts) to coax the lower canines to sneak out past the upper ones. We need about 3 mm on each canine. One vet said he thought Ayi was already too old for this to be successful. Another vet seemed pretty confident it could work. Worst case, we wind up doing all three options if a lesser invasive one fails. Like all parents, we of course want to save the kid’s teeth if we can … and as a guardian, she needs them.

This ‘puppy’ is not supposed to chew on anything other than soft food for two weeks. If the retainer comes out, she has to go back again for more anesthesia and another fitting. She is now confined to kennel with no toys, off goat duty, can’t play and run with the big dog, and has to wear a cone.

Oh, did I mention Anatolians love to create mounds of chew toy collections … logs, rocks, sticks, etc. She especially loves round, flat rocks from the creek. Wish us LOTS of luck keeping her from chewing something.

I asked the vet if Ayi could swim because she is the first Anatolian we’ve had that has actually gone into water deeper than she can stand to paddle around a little. She loves water. Vet said swimming is probably fine … just getting her back into cone and on leash after freedom might be dicey.

Anyway, here are pictures of both — the new retainer molded onto her upper teeth and pallet and yesterday swimming in the pond.

Ayi’s ortho retainer — an attempt to move lower canines out 3 mm or so (2-3 weeks is the hope)
Ayi loves to swim!

What Home Smells Like Tonight

… freshly baked meatloaf, fried okra, and hint of wood smoke from the fireplace

Twighlight, by Maxfield Parrish

Imagine walking into a country home, about Twighlight … you are greeted by warmth on a cool evening, accompanied by fragrances of wood smoke from the fireplace, meatloaf baked in the oven and fried okra …


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