After acquiring eight acres in the middle of the San Pedro River Valley, we arrived to start building Sabbatical Ranch one year ago today. It has been an incredible adventure! A cynic could have told us, "You're just a bunch of starry-eyed dreamers about to get slapped in the face with reality!" Someone did tell us, "You'll accomplish less in the first year than you expect, but you'll accomplish more in five years than you expect." There may be some truth in both of those statements.
We didn't accomplish as much as we wanted, but we did accomplish a lot for one guy and a couple of girls who didn't really know what we were doing at the time. We have learned an incredible amount in the last year! Sure, if we had known then what we know now, we would have done some things differently. But it was what we learned along the way that taught us.
One thing we learned through Resilient Agriscaping that would have made the biggest difference is the value of professional design for the whole site. There are so many parts and pieces that have to work together and you want them to look beautiful and flow rather than being disjointed. Intentional design can help you avoid chaos and result in easy maintenance so you don't become a slave to your property.
No single one of those items seems especially significant, but we'd never done them before so there was a learning curve with each one. And the devil is always in the details if you know what I mean. Plus there's everything else we had to deal with such as the daily mundane requirements of life, dealing with our ongoing health and healing issues, and figuring out how to do everything in unconventional, mold-free ways.
I'm not complaining. Imagine doing this in previous ages! We're off grid and do everything we can in simple, low-tech ways. We don't have any sense of entitlement. We just take it day by day, do the best we can, and acknowledge our dependence on God for the ability to serve others. Sabbatical Ranch is slowly but surely turning into an oasis!
3 Greatest Goals
We want to build a four-foot Superadobe wall around the courtyard area (about one acre) so we can grow gardens and food forests protected from rabbits and javelina
We want to be an educational demonstration site, which we’ve got a good start on, but we want to reach a bigger audience to help more people
We want to build more domes and just started building another one today – actually picking up where we left off when it started freezing at night last fall
Every day we make a little more progress. This morning my daughter took the photo at the top of the page with some of our soil-building cover crops. Below is a picture I took this morning of a couple of the mushrooms that popped up in one of our infiltration basins. Mushrooms don't usually grow on the desert. It's a good sign that we're building fertile soil. Watch us grow, visit and volunteer, or contribute in some other way!
Dedicated Christian, patriot, family man, founder of Sabbatical Ranch