Impressive Girl Projects!

Sabbatical Ranch wouldn't be the same without a woman's touch. My wife and youngest daughter are an enormous blessing! They love staying busy and help in various ways with all the projects I report on, plus they work on their own projects.

They enjoyed a much-deserved, special, fun day this week. The only project I asked them to do was take pictures of some of their projects so I could brag about them, so here are just a few of them.
I love this trail the girls made! These two pictures don't tell half the story. I make adventure trails that require some natural movement skills to navigate. But my trails don't look anywhere near as nice and inviting as this one. It runs along Hunter Creek, winds through both desert (see top photo) and forest landscapes, and is lined with rocks the entire way.
We call this garden the Shady Place because of the unique microclimates created by mesquite thickets on both the east and west sides. You wouldn't think much would grow here if you follow conventional wisdom, but we've learned from Agriscaping how to use microclimates to extend our growing capabilities two USDA Plant Hardiness Zones in both directions! In this spot we'll be able to grow cool-weather crops such as lettuce and kale much later into the hot desert summer. The girls designed the layout of the beds and paths and gamified its development. The first photo is taken from the south as they were beginning their race from either end of the west bed to see who could get to the middle first (they moved the topsoil, used subsoil to elevate the path, and then replaced the topsoil). The other photo is taken from the north once they were all done. 
Tepee Trellis
My daughter designed and made a tepee trellis for her garden. Yes, she has a sizable garden space that she is developing to grow all her favorite things and create a beautiful setting in the heart of Sabbatical Ranch. It has a number of trees, plus plenty of full sun, allowing for just about every kind of microclimate. She envisions this surprisingly tall trellis being covered with sweet-smelling, vining flowers.
Shade Wall
My wife originally made a shade wall here last summer using mesquite branches. The technique of weaving branches between poles is as old as the beginning of time. I was given a bunch of branches from pollarding (ie. a pruning system involving the removal of the upper branches of a tree, which promotes the growth of a dense head of foliage and branches) that the girls then used to make the tepee trellis and a new and improved shade wall. This one has a roof that provides even more protection from the hot desert sun. It is also much stronger and has wire reinforcement in a few places.
French Braid
What do girls do on their fun day? In addition to playing music, playing games, and playing around, they also made a neat hairdo (girl secret: one of the great things about french braids is that they can last for several days).

We have a lot of fun here. At this phase of development we spend most of our time on creative projects as we turn this piece of the desert into a regenerative place of peace and healing. 

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