A BLOG FOR THE MOISTURE PROJECT, 2002-?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Hello Everyone! Meet Yucca Whipplei.
I never met a Yucca I didn't like.

---Claude

Monday, January 26, 2004




January 26,2004

Claude and I headed out for the site with our car loaded up with 64 gallons of water, 2 cases of driwater and 28 one-gallon plants as well as shovels and other tools. All this packed in the Jeep. It is amazing what you can stack and pack in that car. We arrive at the site at 11:00AM after a brief delay on I15 while authorities cleared up what appeared to be a nasty accident. The goal for the day was to finish planting the center radiating circles, the ones planted with native shrubs between the trees and the center gardens (filled with grasses and seedlings). Planting 1 Calliandra Californica added to the circle of Baccharis and Yucca finished Garden 6 up. Around garden 7 we planted 4 Atriplex Polycarpa and 1 Yucca Whipplei planted 17 feet from the center and spaced evenly between 8 existing Atriplex Polycarpa that sit perfectly in that circle. Garden 6 has 3 Atriplex Hymenelytra, 3 Atriplex Lentiformis, 1 Atriplex canescens, and 1 Yucca Whipplei planted 11 feet from the center and evenly spaced between 6 existing Atriplex plants sitting perfectly on that circle. Around the circumference of garden 3 we planted 10 Atriplex Canescens and 1 Yucca whipplei at 7 feet from the center of the garden, which mimics the pattern in garden 6. Claude planted 4 Achnathferum (Indian rice grass) in the center garden of #3.




A beautiful day for working. The only sounds we heard were from the military planes flying around all day. No silence at all.




We ran out of water after planting a total of 30 plants (2 were left on the site Saturday) so we made the 14 mile run to CLUI’s Desert Research Station to fill up the water containers only to discover that we had left the code to open the gate that protects the water spiggit at home. Seems the DRS is also undergoing some plumbing work. We might not have been able to get water anyway. We then drove up the road 4 miles to Jim and Julianne’s on the chance that they might be home but no luck there either. So, empty-bottled we drove 14 miles back to the site to dig holes for plantings to take place on Thursday and to enjoy the sunset. My shoulders are sore from days of digging and planting. I look forward to 2 days off to give my body a short rest.

During the past three trips to the site, Claude and I have put 80 plants into the ground. We are seeing a light at the end of the the tunnel.

---Deena

(posted by KRatt ... aka Kahty) on Sunday, January 25, 2004:


SE's spheres have been uncovered, perhaps by wind?


a wheelbarrow with a flat tire makes a handy bucket while delivering more materials to Site #2 for the underground shelter.


a visit to the garden shows some freshly watered plants.
Kahty and I worked on a map of the wash where the "Sites for Drought and Flood" are
-SE

Sunday, January 25, 2004



January 25, 2004.

Yesterday January 23rd, Claude and I planted 36 plants and trees added to the 14 small tree’s I planted on Thursday (January 22) Makes for a total of 50 plants added to the garden areas over the last 2 visits to the site. The process is labor intensive, requiring us to dig each tree hole over 3 feet deep to make sure that we are safe from that hard crustation that we discovered at the 3 foot level in garden 2. We add a very small amount of gypsum to cut down the alkali level of the soil and then we are ready to level the hole for the trees. Once the trees are in place we fill the holes with the trees in them with water and when the water has been absorbed into the walls of the whole we place 3 one-quart containers of Driwater prepared, as we have been instructed, around each tree. We then back fill with the remaining dirt and place several large stones near the base of each tree to shade the roots to allow for additional moisture retention. To complete the process, we water each tree again. The Driwater will feed each tree and plant for 90 days.



On Thursday January 22nd: Claude, Adam and I prepared and planted the outer most areas of garden’s 3,4,5,6,and 7, consisting of three varieties of Native trees. The selection of trees will provide shade and promote microclimatic changes on the site. Prosopis Pubescens radiates from garden 6, there are 5 trees planted at 25 feet from the center and 25 feet apart. Garden 7 has 2 Acacia Greggii and 2 Prosopis Pubescens planted 25 feet from the center and 25 feet apart, one of the Prosopis from garden 6 overlaps into the radiating circle for garden 7 connecting the two planted areas. Garden 5 was planted with 3 Cercidum Floridum 20 feet from and center and 25 feet apart the center tree facing due south. Between the trees in garden 5, 2 Yucca Whipplei were planted 20 feet from the center. Around the parameter of Garden 4, we planted 3 Cercidum Floridum and 1 Acacia Greggii 20 feet from the center and 25 feet apart. For Garden 3 we planted 3 Cercidum Folridum and 2 Prosopis Pubescens 25 feet from the center and 25 feet apart.



On January 23rd: Claude and I concentrated on planted the next concentric rings of shrubs, the closest perimeter to the central gardens of 7,6,5,4,and 3. For garden 6 we planted 8 Baccharis sarothaoides, and 1 Yucca Whipplei 13 feet from the center and evenly space around 4 existing Atriplex Hymenelytra. For the Baccharis we used 3 quarts of driwater each because the plants were very large for a one-gallon container and becoming root-bound. For the Yucca we decided to use 2 quarts for that planting. In garden area 5 we planted 9 Atriplex Lentiformis 12 feet from the center and spaced evenly among the 3 existing Artiplex polycarpa within that concentric ring. For all the Atriplex varieties we are using 2 quarts of driwater per plant.




In the central 10-foot gardens of 7,6,and 4 we planted native grasses among the seedlings planted over the course of 2 months. We are using 2 quarts of Driwater per plant. In garden 7 we planted 5 Boutloua Gracilis, and garden 6 we planted 3 Sporobolus Alkilidgrass, and in garden 4 we planted 3 Sporobolus Alkilidgrass. We used a total of 72 gallons of water just for yesterday’s plantings requiring me to make a run out to Jim and Julianne’s ranch who generously offered their well water to us on this occasion to fill up containers holding a total of 34 gallons of water. On Thursday we used up all 34 gallons that we bought out to the site on the tree plantings.
We’ve used almost 7 cases of DriWater so far. Hopefully Kent from DriWater will supply us with more after 3 months. Kent: If you’re reading this, we’ll need more by April.

---Deena

Overcast sky, strong SW winds. The weather underground site forecasts a chance of drizzle. I get to the site at 10:00am, Deena and Claude have been there since 9:30am. The wind is really a pain in the ass! This time I took a turban to protect my face. Last time I had been chewing dust most of the day. I work all day on garden #2. Sloped the perimeter. The depth is 21/2 ft. I trace a line at 11/4 ft. this will be a 1 ft. wide terrace on which Deena will plant (Artemisia Tridentata , Chrysothamnus Nauseousus, and Ephedra) to reduce the erosion.
I have to calculate the shoveling in order not to get the dust in my face.

Jim and his wife Julianne)(the real estate agents) arrive during the lunch break. They're cute, in partner look, wearing the same black jacket with the agency's name in red. They check on our progress.

Back to #2, I make the terrace. This is such hard work!


The sky clears up at three. There is a lot to be taken back: empty water containers, empty plant pots and empty driwater boxes. We stop short of 5 PM. It's getting cold. The wind won't die down today.
Before I leave I make myself a cup of tea. Quite a few times I have to swerve around tumbleweeds crossing the road unexpectedly. After Lancaster, drizzle, the first rain in a long time out here!

--Bernard

Friday, January 23, 2004




January 22, 2004
Today we meet at the site at 10:00am. Adam is there, his truck full of plants and water in canisters and bottles. Deena and Claude's car is packed too. They spent the wee hours of the morning filling up as many containers as they could with over 50 gallons of water for the first day of planting.
The sun shines, the sky is clear, the Santa Ana wind is blowing strong.
Today I want to get to the bottom of Garden #2.
Claude and Adam dig the holes for the trees, Deena sets them in place.
I dig and scrape the bottom  of #2 like there would be no tomorrow. The whole surface is rock hard. In the early afternoon I get it leveled properly. I fix the box containing the watering timer at the end of the pipe coming from the tank. I lay plastic sheets on the bottom and install the net of 1/4" pipes keeping them in place with rocks. Then I pour gravel over the whole surface and cover it with a layer of dirt. I'm exhausted!




We hear about three or four sonic booms.
Around three the wind dies and leaves a wonderful piece.
The planted trees  look impressive with their three feeding quarts of DriWater, their rocks and fence.




The days are getting longer, the sun sets a little after 5 allowing us longer working days.
Yesterday I was reading the texts Claude had written to describe our project in the beginning of last year. I quote:
"The proposed start and completion dates for Moisture Phase Two are the last two weekends in October and the first and second weekends in November, 2003. Though planning and conceptualizing will take place in the months before then, the participants will work over this three week period to execute their plans. The projects will be completed on the third weekend and all interested parties will be invited to help complete the final stages of the works."
Little did we know about it then. The project had a vague direction. It has become an ambitious, complex piece, requiring a lot of research, lots of trips at the site and lots of digging. And we are not finished yet!
From the optical cable road you don't see a thing of the installation!

Monday, January 19, 2004





Saturday, January 17.
Leave Venice at 7 AM. Turning from I-5 to the 14 the fog lifts up suddenly and the landscape appears in the sunrise light. Not a cloud, beautiful day ahead!
Arrive at site just after 9. Deena & Claude are already there. Here too, no clouds and much warmer than last time. Little later Marc arrives then Ryan and his girlfriend Natalie.
Deena tells me that she thinks that all the seedlings she planted are dead. I try to reassure her, it's too early to tell. A few hours later she dug a little in Garden #4 and she finds her seedlings growing strong. What we had seen last time was not what we had planted. How is the Driwater doing here? With the severely dry atmosphere it might not last as long as the company expects it. We'll have to find a way to check and measure that. The little 2” squares she was using from the gel packs had dried out after only one week, however the seedlings appear to be taking. Deena has been experimenting with the DriWater since little information is available concerning how DriWater can and should be used with seedlings.
Deena starts digging the holes for the satellite trees. Seeing that the bottom of Garden #2 is so hard she wants to make sure that the trees will make it through a certain depth. The holes are about 2' in diameter by 3' in depth.
Everybody else is busy painstakingly digging the almost rock bottom of #2. We are a little more than 3' under the desert ground. We need to dig 6"more in certain spots to reach the right level that will allow gravity to spread the water in this garden. We are taking turns, going at it with the pickax with all our might. The sun is hot and we all get a good, healthy sweat.
After lunch, Claude, Natalie, and Ryan make a trip with the truck to get rocks. These rocks will be set around the future trees to help shade the base and roots while helping to retain more moisture underneath. Providing more moisture for each tree, these partially buried rocks should give the added boost. On another trip, Claude, Ryan and me go get a load of gravel for the bottom of Garden#2 (so that water can spread easily). We get to a hill where gravel covers the ground, I rake it in small piles, Claude and Ryan collect it in buckets and empty it in the back of the truck.
In the meantime, Deena, Natalie and Marc have dug 7 holes for the trees. It's getting exciting!
Around 3 the bottom of #2 is almost right. We have exhausted our strength we will finish next time.
--Bernard






Sunday, January 18
Saturday evening Deena and I spend the night at Jim and Julianne’s trailer down the road near the DRS. We sleep well, but come out in the morning to find frozen hoses. We need to fill our 7-gallon water containers before leaving for the site. Thinking quickly, Jim takes the containers inside and they fit perfectly under his newly installed bathtub spigot. Sunday goes quite well. We dig all of the remaining tree holes except for 4 (I’m still feeling the pain as I write this). Also on Sunday, we meet a crazy bunch: Earl, Sam, and son Gabriel who arrive at the site on motorized vehicles. They’d spotted us from far off. Lambchop and Zoe bark, afraid to come near. Earl tells us that he is our neighbor just to South. He mentions that they frequently camp over at the Buttes just to West. Telling us a bit more than we wanted to know, Earl clues us in to the secret airplane drops for the supposed Meth Lab up the hill. Good to know, I guess. He says we should carry side arms out here as he takes out his 357 Magnum (the kind Dirty Harry said could blow your head clean off). I’m not feeling lucky, so I tell him I didn’t think any of us would be willing to carry a piece out here or anywhere for that matter. Just as they leave, Jim and son-in-law Jay show up and take a look at our progress. They leave after a short while and then we get back to business.
We dig and water a few of the gardens for 3 more hours and then we clean up. We are on the road again by 3:00pm. We’ll be back this coming week. No fighter planes buzzed us this time, maybe next week.
--Claude





Friday, January 16
The shipment from Rain Bird arrived. 20 cases of the quarts and 20 cases of sleeves.
The driver was not used to making deliveries in a residential area, but he was glad to help us unload the shipment onto our driveway. Many thanks to Palma from Rain Bird and Kent from DriWater for getting the product to us. We hope to use it wisely. We don't know if DriWater has been significantly tested in the Mojave. We'll see how well it works in one of the driest deserts on the planet.

-Claude



Above is an image Mark Tsang took at the site almost 3 months ago.
Hard to believe we've been working on this project for so long. You can see the measuring
being done well before the gabbion was ever completed.

-Claude

Saturday, January 10, 2004


And of course we had to document

This is about as far deep as I'm burying them. Then just a fine dusting of sand over the top.

At thise location I set out the balls prior to burying them. kahty's painting a pole that will mark the location the same blue color.

Back again duing daylight hours. Kahty begins building a small underground room.

We have 3 seperate sites with underground shelters and groups of spheres, awaiting flood waters to send them downstream. One cold day in December we went out just at sunset and worked in the desert night.

To update folks - Back in November Kahty and I traversed the big wash kitty corner to Claude and Deena's land purchase. After finding some good locations about a 20 minute walk apart from each other Kahty began to dig her underground shelters.
SE

Thursday, January 08, 2004



Tuesday 5 January.
John Berg and his companion Eike are visiting from Germany. They wanted to see the site and with Deena and Claude we decided to go out there again for one day.
We left at 9. On the way the sky is covering up and strong wind gusts shake the car. We stop for an expresso (that we make in the car) in Mojave. It feels quite cold but the thermometer shows 55.4°F. Will we have a little sun? To the SouthEast a big blue patch of sky could do it.
We get at the site at 11:30 with a timid sunshine (51.8°F). Claude and Deena have been there since 10:00am. Eike sits down at Garden #3 where Deena is busy planting. They seem to have a lively conversation.




Claude is digging Garden #2, John and I join him. The soil at this level is very hard. The pick ax is on duty all the time. It is also very deep and we are thinking about different solutions to keep the soil from falling in. I take care of the trench that connects it to the tank. It is deep, narow and the soil is also hard, not very easy to dig! Little by little I get to the right level and glue the remaining pipes.
At 1:00 we call for lunch. Laura has made a delicious leeks quiche. Eike and Deena didn't hear the call and I have to go get them when we are finished.
Military airplanes fly over our heads. Around 2:00pm a supersonic jet, white with the tip of the wings red fly over the optic cable road (where we have parked the cars) at a 100 feet, scary!
By 2:00 the sky is overcast again and the temperature drops. Laura and Eike are freezing and they retreat in the car. Between Claude, John and me we set the chicken wire around Garden #2 in no time, we have experience now!




Deena tell us that plants are starting to grow in Garden #5. We all go there and manage to see minuscule leaves. Is it what Deena has planted? Paying attention we see that the desert ground is full of new minuscule growth. John finishes covering the tank and part of the trench with dirt.
Around 4:30pm we all leave satisfied with our days work.


Sunday, January 04, 2004



January 3rd, 2004.
Gorgeous morning! Not a cloud in  sight. I leave at 9:30.
Behind Mojave the mountains are sprayed with snow and some clouds linger over the tops.
Unlike last time the solar plant (the biggest in the world of it's kind) is functionning.
I arrive at 11:30. Deena & Claude are there since quite a while. The wind is blowing steadily.
Deena is busy in Garden #4 planting Phecelia Campanularia (which should give the desert nice little blue flowers).
She adds a blob of Drywater to each seedling.




I check the silt trap ( it has rained twice since last time) but very little, bone dry!
In the pond the surface is dry but right below the sand is very wet. I hope that with the rains it will fill up with water and that we will see animal foot prints around it.
I continue the trench between the tank and Garden#2. The soil is hard, the trench is deep I don't manage to finish it. We will need some strong people to finish this digging!
Around noon the temperature is 51.8°F.  (11°C.) in the shade and the wind has stopped.
Claude and I decide to make the rabbit fence for Garden#4. I cut the length of chicken wire for the three remaining gardens.



Then we dig the trench for it and install it.




Deena sketches Garden#4. The wind picks up again around three.



We decide to come back at the beginning of next week, and to have more people come for the week-end of the 17 to finish the gardens.
We stop around 4. The temperature is dropping fast 46.4°F.  (8°C.)
On the way back I take pictures between the intersection of Harper Lake Road and Venice.

January 3rd, 2004.
Gorgeous morning! Not a cloud in sight. I leave at 9:30.
Behind Mojave the mountains are sprayed with snow and some clouds linger over the tops.
Unlike last time the solar plant (the biggest in the world of it's kind) is functionning.
I arrive at 11:30. Deena & Claude are there since quite a while. The wind is blowing steadily.
Deena is busy in Garden #4 planting Phecelia Campanularia (which should give the desert nice little blue flowers).

Deenaplants

Claude digs Garden#2. It will have to be pretty deep to be lower than the french drain!

Claudedigs
I check the silt trap ( it has rained twice since last time) but very little, bone dry!
In the pond the surface is dry but right below the sand is very wet. I hope that with the rains it will fill up with water and that we will see animal foot prints around it.
I continue the trench between the tank and Garden#2. The soil is hard, the trench is deep I don't manage to finish it. We will need some strong people to finish this digging!
Around noon the temperature is 51.8°F. (11°C.) in the shade and the wind has stopped.
Claude and I decide to make the rabbit fence for Garden#4. I cut the length of chicken wire for the three remaining gardens.
Bernchicken
Then we dig the trench for it and install it. Deena prepare sketches of the garden.

Claudein4href="http://moisture.greenmuseum.org/blog/Deenadraws">Deenadraws

The wind pick up again around three.
I'm too tempted to fill the silt trap and I do it... silttrap
We decide to come back at the beginning of next week, and to have more people come for the week-end of the 17 to finish the gardens.
We stop around 4. The temperature is dropping fast 46.4°F. (8°C.)
On the way back I take pictures between the intersection of Harper Lake Road and Venice.

fromHarpertoVenice



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