Friday, August 13, 2004

On Thursday, August 12th Deena and I met up with Julie Williams at our house in Altadena, and we traveled down to the studio to meet Mark Tsang in Rancho Cucamonga. The plan was to take two cars out, loading them both down with 11 multi-gallon water containers, 5 cases of DriWater, 3 bags of mulch, and 8 buckets. Due to an accident on the 210 we arrived a few minutes late and Mark was already waiting for us.

Interstate 15 was fine. We made it to the Hinkley Market around 2:00pm, and when we exited our air-conditioned cars we had to catch our breaths. It was easily over 100 degrees, but the shop-owner told us it was 115. We didn’t believe him.

About 25 minutes later we made it to the site. Julie grabbed the hidden wheelbarrow and started hauling down the water as Mark and I took smaller loads on our backs. Deena checked the conditions of the plants fed last week. Not much disruption was visible. A few of our fences had blown over, and some trees seemed quite a bit drier than last visit, but the site seemed to be in good shape.

After working for about 45 minutes on Garden #1, we saw the storm clouds off in the distance. We had seen the clouds back at the market, but they seemed very far away. Now they only seemed miles away as they drifted over the solar station just a few miles from our site. Over the course of an hour the winds picked up, but the storm seemed to keep its distance from our site.

After Garden One’s tree and shrub DriWater replenishment, and the addition of mulch, we moved into Garden #2 which was in much need of moisture. Creating an assembly line, all four of us replenished and mulched the entire garden in about 35 minutes. Mark stood in the center of the garden and pulled out the empty quart containers. Julie cut open the DriWater capsules and placed them into the empty containers that Mark had cut down with scissors. Deena moved around the outside and mulched the replenished trees. I moved in and out the garden opening capsules and placing them into the sleeves. We all switched roles several times, but we went through almost 2 cases of DriWater within a very short period of time.

Throughout the process we all kept our eyes on the storm. We were certain that it would hit us, but it never did. We watched it shift on the horizon, moving slowly towards the mountains as it stirred up dust in the not-so-distant town of Hinkley. The storm taunted us. We could see the streams of rain falling, but not a drop would fall on the MOISTURE site.

After moving so quickly through Garden #2 we found ourselves with a very limited supply of DriWater to be used on the remaining gardens. So, we all split up and started additional supplement applications to the other garden areas. We worked in gardens #7, #3, #4, and #6. When the supplement ran out we used all of the remaining water on any parched plant we could find. Deena used up the remaining mulch on any tree or shrub without it. Of all the trees and shrubs we planted, many looked quite dry, but those replenished with DriWater, just one week ago, still looked good.

When the water and supplement ran out, we started collecting compost material for our 68V// project currently being constructed for the GardenLab Experiment in Pasadena. Mark filled our 4 large buckets with sand to be used in the seed stratification units now in production (more on that later). Deena, Julie, and I filled empty DriWater cases with compostable brown material.

We finished up and left the site by 6:45pm. All the mulch, water, and DriWater was utilized so almost every container brought out returned home with something else inside of it. Julie and Deena road home in the Jeep, while Mark and I road home in his car. Mr. Tsang would provide a few split seconds of excitement when we he accelerated just under a RR-Crossing arm on our way out of Hinkley. The train was about a half-mile away, but it was still a bit nerve-wracking. I never once questioned Mr. Tsang’s driving skills J.

If someone would have told me that we could spend 5 hours in the Mojave in the middle of August without the discomfort caused by the sun I would have never believed them. Amazingly, the storm clouds gave us a much-needed cover. The storm never hit us, or our site, but it made the working day a lot easier. Thanks to unpredictable weather patterns!

---Claude W. 8/13/04

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Notes on August 3rd, 2004

On Tuesday we made a trip out to the site with 59 gallons of water, 2 cases of DriWater and one bale of nitrated bark mulch. Our goal was to feed all the trees on the site regardless of their appearance, water all the planted trees and shrubs at the site, and finish mulching the trees.

We left the studio in Cucamonga around 1:00pm, leaving Lambchop and Zoe behind.
There was no room in the Jeep seeing how we had eight large multi-gallon containers of water to take along. We had eaten earlier so we headed directly to the site without unnecessary diversions. Arriving at 3:00pm, we experienced much milder weather than during any of our summer trips out. The temperature was100 degrees but it felt much cooler to us.

We checked the DriWater levels on all of the plants fed over the last 3 weeks. The trees fed 3 weeks earlier had completely used up their recently applied supply. The trees fed 2 weeks ago, and not mulched, had utilized 2/3 of their DriWater supply.

The trees that were fed DriWater ( and mulched 3 inches over the topsoil and covering the Dri-Water containers) had only used approximately one quarter of the supplement.

Last weeks feedings were in good standing especially those with DriWater containers covered with 2 to 3” of mulch. During this visit, we made sure that all the trees had full containers of supplement and then we heavily mulched the trees that needed it.

We were happy to find that the two Prosopis Pubescences, that were struggling to survive 3 weeks ago, are now doing quite well.

The two Acacia Greggii trees, doing so well during the last visit, were apparently attacked by either birds or bugs, and their leaves are now missing. However, both are still very much alive, and we hope that they continue to recover. The healthiest shrubs are the Atriplex Canescens around garden #3. They have really perked up with the little bit of water they received over the last 4 weeks.

After a few hours of work, we ran out of water and headed to the Double J Rockin' Ranch to see Jim and Julianne and to fill up on some of their well water. (Thanks guys!) After filling our tanks and our parched throats (with ice water from the Perkins fridge) we headed back to the site around 6:40pm. We arrived back at 7:00 and worked quickly to apply water to all of the remaining struggling shrubs. We moved fast, wrapping things up around 8:00pm.

Off to Lenwood we headed where we ate dinner with Jim and Julianne. Deeny’s has become the unofficial meeting place to unwind with those two. Certainly not the best food, but it works when you have little to choose from. A little after 10:00pm we were back on the road and headed to Cucamonga for the night. Lambchop and Zoe were waiting and ready with bladders ready to be emptied.

---Deena and Claude (8-5-04)

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