In this Issue
Edwin started digging the pond in August. To your right you can see the early beginnings. First, the site had to be leveled, then the area marked out and dug. We needed to dig the pond four feet deep for the koi and goldfish to overwinter at the bottom without freezing. Instead of digging a four foot hole, we decided to dig 2 1/2 feet below the ground level and build up a berm 1 1/2 feet above the ground level. Many koi ponds are constructed similarly. The other advantage is that it may help prevent the cold air drainage (cold air seeks the lowest point) from cooling the pond quite as much.
The koi pond is now operational. We have more work to get it to a finished state. As you can see in the second image on the left, the liner we received was too small for the hole (a miscalculation on Edwin's part). So, to save the fish we used it anyway and will be ordering a new one in early October. We hope to have pictures of the completed pond by next newsletter, but the shade structure may not be fully completed by then. An additional problem we ran into is that the 1/6 HP 125W motor we received drained the 400W solar system too much. Therefore we have ordered several more pumps and will run a highly efficient (30W) pump continuously hooked up to the rock filter, and a 45W pump which will be hooked up to the St. Francis statue/waterfall. Yet another issue is the pH level, which is above the high end of the acceptable range. We are going to experiment with a peat filter which the statue waterfall will drain into, to see if it lowers the pH sufficiently. There are about 5 goldfish and one koi, as well as water lilies, water lettuce, bamboo, and other plants. To produce a finished look to the pond and give it structural integrity, we will eventually rock-and-mortar around the berm. The shade structure will be 2X6's and 2X4's topped off with lattice. This will allow plenty of sun to filter in without overheating the fish during the warmest months.
Dan and Niki, who arrived last month, are settling nicely and enjoying the Sanctuary. They have done amazing work so far, weeding large areas of garden and grounds, working on the shower house walls, terracing the area in front of their camper, helping with the pond project, and much much more. Many thanks and appreciations, Dan and Niki!
We still are hoping for a visit from another couple, who recently sold their condo in LA and are visiting communities in Arizona. They have indicated they may come for a visit in October.
The farmer's market has concluded for us. Although it continues into late October, we don't have enough produce to make it worth the while. There is also very few customers at the Douglas market. Next year it will be switching to Sunday instead of Saturday, plus we will be vending at the Bisbee market on Saturday next year. We hope to have much more produce to sell next year, and will prepare by starting cell trays in late winter.
We continue to plant Chinaberry trees we have grown from seed. We are planting additional trees in areas by the campers and around the pond area. In a couple of years the Sanctuary will begin to look like an oasis! Some of the pomegranates didn't make it past the seedling stage, but many more of them did, and we have dozens and dozens of them that are thriving. We will grow more in the spring to replace the ones which failed.
We are also planting cell trays in the cold frames for a winter garden. We hope to have kale, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli this winter.
- August was a dry month, with only about 1 1/2 inches of rain instead of the usual 3+. However, we made up for it with about 3 inches in early September. Looks like the monsoons are about over now, though.
- Our dog Jack has "fallen in love" with his former owner's dog and has abandoned us for the time being. We suspect he will be back in due time.
- Edwin still needs to take safety training for the Adopt-a-Highway program. This needs to be done soon so we can accomplish the first cleanup within the 6-month window of application.
On the agenda for October
- Finish the pond with a new liner and install new pumps
- Finish the shower house.
- Fall cleanup of the garden beds
- Possible visits from people inquiring about the Sanctuary
Please Spread the Word
If you know of anyone who has a pioneer spirit and is interested in community, ecology, organic gardening, living simply, and personal growth, please pass the word by directing them to http://sacredsanctuary.org and encourage them to subscribe to this newsletter.
Wishing you peace and love -
Edwin Basye, Steward